A powerful motivation to hand-wash: shame

Shame boosts likelihood people will wash hands, research suggests

The BBC reports that people are more likely to wash their hands once they’ve been shamed into it, according to new research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Using sensors, the team measured people’s reactions to hygiene messages in various service station toilets, and found the one that produced the highest rate of handwashing was, “Is the person next to you washing with soap?” Other messages included “Water doesn’t kill germs, soap does” and “Don’t be a dirty soap dodger,” which flashed onto LED screens near the entrance of the bathroom. Of the 250,000 people counted using the toilets, whose use of soap was monitored by sensors, only 32 per cent of men washed their hands with soap, while 64 per cent of women did. Hand-washing, according to the American Journal of Public Health, is the best way to stop the spread of disease, and can help stop transmission of deadly illnesses like diarrhoeal disease and flu, as well as infections like Clostridium difficile.

BBC News

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