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Main COVID-19 information sources in a culturally and linguistically diverse community in Sydney, Australia: A cross-sectional survey

By Julie Ayre, Danielle M Muscat, Olivia Mac, Carys Batcup, Erin Cvejic, Kristen Pickles, Hankiz Dolan, Carissa Bonner, Dana Mouwad, Dipti Zachariah, Una Turalic, Yvonne Santalucia, Tingting Chen, Gordana Vasic, Kirsten J McCaffery

Posted 25 Oct 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.24.21265451

Background Little is known about COVID-19 information-seeking experiences for culturally and linguistically diverse groups in Australia. Methods Participants were recruited using a cross-sectional survey from March 21 to July 9, 2021, translated into 11 languages, and with supporting bilingual staff. Linear regression models identified factors associated with difficulty finding easy-to-understand COVID-19 information. Results Across 708 participants (88% born overseas, 31% poor English proficiency), difficulty finding easy-to-understand COVID-19 information was rated 4.13 for English materials (95%CI: 3.85 to 4.41) and 4.36 for translated materials (95%CI: 4.07 to 4.66) (1 easy to 10 hard). Participants who were older (p<0.001), had inadequate health literacy (Mean Difference (MD)=-1.43, 95%CI -2.03 to -0.82, p<0.001), or poor English proficiency (MD=-1.9, 95%CI-2.51 to -1.29, p<0.001) found it harder to find easy-to-understand English-language COVID-19 information. Those who had greater difficulty finding easy-to-understand translated COVID-19 information were younger (p=0.004), had poor English proficiency (MD=-1.61, 95%CI -2.29 to -0.9, p<0.001), university education (MD=0.77, 95%CI 0.00 to 1.53, p=0.05), and had spent longer living in Australia (p=0.001). They were more likely to rely on friends and family for COVID-19 information (p=0.02). There was significant variation in information-seeking experiences across language groups (p's<0.001). Conclusions Easy-to-understand and accessible COVID-19 information is needed to meet the needs of people in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. This approach should involve working alongside these communities to tailor messages and leverage existing communication channels.

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