Data_Sheet_1_Handwashing Message Type Predicts Behavioral Intentions in the United States at the Beginning of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic.csv (97.24 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Handwashing Message Type Predicts Behavioral Intentions in the United States at the Beginning of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic.csv

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posted on 05.05.2021, 04:19 by John Matkovic, Kelly S. Clemens, Kate Faasse, Andrew L. Geers

Handwashing has been widely recommended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Despite this, handwashing behavior remains low in the general public. Social marketing has been employed as a successful health promotion strategy for changing many health behaviors in the past. The present study examines if message framing influences the effectiveness of a handwashing health promotion messages at the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a between-subjects cross-sectional experiment, participants (N = 344) in the United States were randomly assigned to view one of four handwashing messages or a control message before completing self-report measures of attitudes, emotions, readiness to change, and behavioral intentions around handwashing. Simple handwashing messages were presented with different framings, including a simple exchange message, a gain message, a social norm appeal, and a guilt appeal. Results revealed that message type influenced handwashing behavioral intentions and emotions. Post-hoc comparisons revealed that the simple exchange message produced significantly higher intentions than other messages and that only the simple exchange message significantly differed from the control message on emotions regarding handwashing. Mediational analyses showed handwashing emotions fully mediated the relationship between messaging and handwashing intentions. This mediation effect was moderated by age, such that it occurred for the younger and middle age participants, but not older participants. These results suggest that even simple, brief, and easily conveyable messages can positively impact behavioral intentions around handwashing during the early stages of a health crisis. Consistent with recent research comparing affective and cognitive pathways for health behavior, the mediational analysis suggests that effect of the simple exchange message on intentions was due to increased positive emotions around handwashing.

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