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Drivers and motivators in consumer handwashing behavior

Pattarapong Burusnukul (Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, USA)
Charles Christopher Broz (Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, USA)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 28 October 2013




A study was conducted at a small university in the American Southwest. The purpose of the study was to determine the efficacy of a four-year campaign implemented by the university's health services department. The campaign consisted of posting signs in lavatories across campus, reminding students, faculty, and staff to wash their hands after using the facilities.


In 2012, researchers conducted a traditional online survey embedded in a university-wide weekly electronic newsletter. Both students and employees at the participating university were recruited for the study. The sample represented members of the community with potential exposure to the handwashing promotion campaign as described above, as well as to the health risks associated with varying practices of sanitation behaviors among members of a public institution.


Results indicated participants generally believed in the positive outcomes of handwashing practices. Further, they did not agree that handwashing practices would result in negative outcomes. As for self-reported hand sanitization practices, participants relied more on handwashing than using alcohol-based sanitizer to sanitize hands in all instances.


Members of the institution reported having positive beliefs and attitude toward handwashing provide a strong basis for an effective handwashing promotion campaign. The emphasis on positive outcomes of adequate and proper handwashing, however, still needs to continue. Therefore, continuing education for the institution's members on the positive outcomes of handwashing can further enhance their attitude and the sense of responsibility to wash their hands as frequently as needed.



Burusnukul, P. and Christopher Broz, C. (2013), "Drivers and motivators in consumer handwashing behavior", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 43 No. 6, pp. 596-604.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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