Different Behavior-Change Messaging Techniques Do Not Increase Customers’ Hand Sanitization Adherence During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Natural Behavioral Study

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Introduction: Hand hygiene is an integral public health strategy in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, yet the past research has shown hand hygiene practices among the public is sub-optimal. This study aimed to (1) quantify hand sanitization rates among the public to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and (2) evaluate whether different public health messaging, based on various behavior-change theories influences hand hygiene behavior in a natural setting. Methods: An observational, naturalistic study design was used with real-time customer activity data recorded against hand sanitizer usage in a regional hardware store. Primary outcome from the study was to measure the usage ratio by counting the amount of activity versus usage of hand sanitizer per hour against individual messages based on their behavioral change technique (BCT). Results: There was no significant difference between the baseline message and any of the intervention messages [F(16,904) = 1.19, p = 0.279] or between BCT groups [F(3,906) = 1.33, p = 0.263]. Post hoc tests showed no significant difference between messages (social comparison, p = 0.395; information, p = 1.00; and action planning, p = 1.00). Conclusion: This study showed that even during a pandemic, hand hygiene usage rates in a public setting were similar to the past studies and that compliance did not shift dependent on the public message displayed. This raises questions on whether requirements imposed on businesses to provide hand sanitizer to patrons are an ineffective and maybe an unnecessary economic burden. A measured approach to risk and behavioral analysis surrounding the use of hand sanitizer in a pandemic is suggested as a better approach to inform public policy on the value of hand sanitizer.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer876131
TidsskriftFrontiers in Psychology
Vol/bind13
Antal sider7
ISSN1664-1078
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 9 jun. 2022

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Copyright © 2022 Booker, Cordon, Pedersen, Fosgerau, Egerton, Chan and Skinner.

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