Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is The Person Next To You Washing Their Hands With Soap?

Date:
October 16, 2009
Source:
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Summary:
People are more likely to wash their hands when they have been shamed into it, according to a new study.

People are more likely to wash their hands when they have been shamed into it, according to a study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at responses to electronic hygiene messages displayed in UK service station toilets.

A million people die every year from diarrhoeal disease and respiratory infection. Handwashing with soap is the cheapest and best way of controlling these diseases. It also prevents the spread of flu, and hospital-acquired infections such as Clostridium difficile. However, "it's difficult to know what kind of message is most effective at changing this everyday behaviour, so it's important to experimentally test what works best in a real setting. That way you can save money and make sure your programme will be effective prior to rolling out any public health campaign at great expense," says Robert Aunger, leader of the study.

A quarter of a million people were counted using the toilets and their use of soap was monitored by on-line sensors. Only 32% of men washed their hands with soap whilst women were twice as good, with 64% washing their hands.

A variety of messages, ranging from 'Water doesn't kill germs, soap does' to 'Don't be a dirty soap dodger', were flashed onto LED screens at the entrance of the toilets and the effects of the messages on behaviour were measured. 'Is the person next to you washing with soap?' was best overall, showing how people respond to whether they thought others were watching. There were intriguing differences in behaviour by gender, with women responding to reminders, while men tended to react best to messages that invoked disgust, for example 'soap it off or eat it later'.

Gaby Judah, who ran the study said: "Our findings are particularly important on Global Handwashing Day, when many agencies concerned with improving health worldwide by encouraging people to wash their hands with soap will be looking to use best practice." Global Handwashing Day is on 15th October.

Global Handwashing Day is 15 October and will involve more than 70 countries around the world, with the aim of improving handwashing practices. It is mainly focussing on children, as they are affected the most by diseases spread by poor hygiene.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "Is The Person Next To You Washing Their Hands With Soap?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014193211.htm>.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (2009, October 16). Is The Person Next To You Washing Their Hands With Soap?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014193211.htm
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "Is The Person Next To You Washing Their Hands With Soap?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014193211.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
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