Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Gross' Messaging Used To Increases Handwashing, Fight Norovirus

Date:
December 19, 2008
Source:
University of Denver
Summary:
Research suggests that it takes "gross" messaging to get undergraduate students to wash their hands more frequently after going to the bathroom.

Research conducted by University of Denver (DU) Associate Professor Renιe Botta suggests that it takes "gross" messaging to get undergraduate students to wash their hands more frequently after going to the bathroom.

In fall quarter 2007, researchers posted messages in the bathrooms of two DU undergraduate residence halls. The messages said things like, "Poo on you, wash your hands" or "You just peed, wash your hands," and contained vivid graphics and photos. The messages resulted in increased handwashing among females by 26 percent and among males by 8 percent.

"Fear of spreading germs or getting sick by not washing didn't mean much to students," says Botta, the lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism Studies. "What got their attention was the knowledge that they might be walking around with "gross things" on their hands if they didn't wash."

Observations in two control dorms over the same four-week period showed handwashing decreased 2 percentage points among females and 21.5 percentage points among males.

"We tried gross messages, germ messages and you'll-get-sick messages. And the only ones that stuck was gross," says Assistant Director of Health Promotions Katie Dunker, one of a team of five who conducted the pilot study. "We found that the 'gross factor' is what works, and we were able to increase hand washing behavior by a lot."

The findings are generating interest. Universities including UC Santa Barbara, Wyoming, Colorado State and CU–Colorado Springs want to borrow DU's techniques in hopes of improving student handwashing behavior on their campuses.

"The relevance of the message is really, really important," she says. "You can threaten that they'll get the flu or promise a flu-free winter, but if they don't really care about that, your message is going to fall flat," Botta says.

What was clear, she adds, was that the grossness campaign brought positive results not only in the study but also in a campus emergency that broke out last April. A week before the study was to be expanded to the entire University, a Norovirus outbreak made 63 students ill over a four-day period. Handwashing was identified as an important way to prevent the disease from spreading.

The study appears in the October edition of the Journal of Communication in Healthcare.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Denver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Denver. "'Gross' Messaging Used To Increases Handwashing, Fight Norovirus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215184341.htm>.
University of Denver. (2008, December 19). 'Gross' Messaging Used To Increases Handwashing, Fight Norovirus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215184341.htm
University of Denver. "'Gross' Messaging Used To Increases Handwashing, Fight Norovirus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215184341.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) — The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 28, 2014) — Attackers stole checking and savings account information and lots of other data from JPMorgan Chase, according to the New York Times. Other banks are believed to be victims as well. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Ebola Cases Could Eventually Reach 20,000

UN: Ebola Cases Could Eventually Reach 20,000

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — The Ebola outbreak in West Africa eventually could exceed 20,000 cases, more than six times as many as are known now, the World Health Organization said as the US announced plans to test an experimental Ebola vaccine. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins