Profiling adopters (and non-adopters) of a contact tracing mobile application: Insights from Australia

Int J Med Inform. 2021 Feb 9;149:104414. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2021.104414. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Many governments are using contact tracing mobile applications (CTMAs) yet public adoption of such systems has been relatively low. The main objective of this paper is to profile adopters (and non-adopters) of Australia’s COVIDSafe CTMA.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We use latent profile analysis to examine predictors of CTMA download behaviour. Specifically, we draw on a representative Australian sample (N = 2575) to examine the interplay between age, education, income, dispositional desire for privacy and political ideology on download behaviour. We examine trust in government as a mediating mechanism between profiles and download behaviour.

RESULTS: Our analysis produces seven profiles. Trust in government mediates the relationship between most profiles and download behaviour. A combination of wealth and education appear to be key explanatory factors of CTMA download behaviour. Two profiles — comprising individuals with high income and education — had the highest rates of download behaviour. Profiles with low download percentages comprised politically left-leaning participants with average to low income and education.

CONCLUSION: Our findings clearly indicate the profiles of people who are (not) likely to download a CTMA. Practical ways to improve widespread adoption include providing structural support to the more vulnerable members of society, making clear the societal benefits of downloading CTMAs, and engaging in bipartisan promotion of such apps.

PMID:33639328 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2021.104414