What is it about?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, young adults reported low levels of hand hygiene. In a field study in university residence halls, we tested whether hand sanitizer use could be improved with signs that communicated either social norms or the benefits of hand sanitizer use.
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Why is it important?
We found that signs emphasizing favorable social norms (e.g., “many people use hand sanitizer to fight the spread of COVID-19”) led to the greatest increase in sanitizer use among young adults. However, the impact of signs on hand sanitizer use was less than found in prior studies conducted outside of the COVID-19 pandemic. This field study also found that the greatest increase in hand sanitizer use occurred when residents were made aware of the presence of COVID-19 cases in a hall. Together, the findings suggest that both perceived threat and favorable social norms may improve hand hygiene among young adults.
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This page is a summary of: Field experiment of signs promoting hand hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic., Health Psychology, August 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/hea0001211.
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