Understanding the predictors of hand hygiene using aspects of the theory of planned behaviour and temporal self-regulation theory

Publication Name

Psychology and Health


Objective: Adherence to proper hand hygiene practice is relatively low and is particularly salient in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Having a greater understanding of the psychosocial predictors of engaging in proper hand hygiene is warranted. One way to do this is through the application of a combined theory of planned behaviour and temporal self-regulation theory model. Design: A prospective two-part study was conducted between May–November 2020, with N = 232 Australians. At time one, variables from both the theory of planned behaviour (attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, and intention) and temporal self-regulation theory (habit, environmental cues, and planning) were completed. Main outcome measures: One week later, engagement in proper hand hygiene behaviour over the previous week was assessed. Results: Two hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted, with 47% of variance accounted for in intention, with subjective norm being the strongest predictor, and 38% of variance accounted for in hand hygiene behaviour, with intention being the strongest predictor. Environmental cues also moderated the relationship between intention and behaviour. Conclusions: To increase intention, incorporating subjective norm messages in advertisements may be helpful. Incorporating environmental cues in places where hand washing is recommended may assist in increasing hand hygiene.

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