Background: Frequent handwashing can prevent infections, but non-compliance to hand hygiene is pervasive. Few theory- and evidence-based interventions to improve regular handwashing are available. Therefore, two intervention modules, a motivational and a self-regulatory one, were designed and evaluated. Methods: In a longitudinal study, 205 young adults, aged 18 to 26 years, were randomized into two intervention groups. The Mot-SelfR group received first a motivational intervention (Mot; risk perception and outcome expectancies) followed by a self-regulatory intervention (SelfR; perceived self-efficacy and planning) 17 days later. The SelfR-Mot group received the same two intervention modules in the opposite order. Follow-up data were assessed 17 and 34 days after the baseline. Results: Both intervention sequences led to an increase in handwashing frequency, intention, self-efficacy, and planning. Also, overall gains were found for the self-regulatory module (increased planning and self-efficacy levels) and the motivational module (intention). Within groups, the self-regulatory module appeared to be more effective than the motivational module, independent of sequence. Conclusions: Self-regulatory interventions can help individuals to exhibit more handwashing. Sequencing may be important as a motivation module (Mot) first helps to set the goal and a self-regulatory module (SelfR) then helps to translate this goal into actual behavior, but further research is needed to evaluate mechanisms.
Institute for Positive Psychology and Education
Open Access Journal Article
Lhakhang, P., Lippke, S., Knoll, N. & Schwarzer, R. (2015). Evaluating brief motivational and self-regulatory hand hygiene interventions : A cross-over longitudinal design. BMC Public Health,15(1), 1-9. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1453-7