Emotional motivators help to increase handwashing with soap, Indian study finds

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 17 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2170
  1. Cheryl Travasso
  1. 1Mumbai

Using emotional levers rather than health messages helped to increase rates of handwashing with soap in rural villages in India, a study has found. Triggers such as feelings of disgust and nurturing were found to increase handwashing by 31% and to help people maintain the habit for 12 months.

The SuperAmma (“super mum”) intervention ( was adapted from an open access toolkit developed by the same research team ( It used emotional drivers that had been found to be the most effective levers for behaviour change: disgust (the desire to avoid and remove contamination), nurture (the desire for a happy, thriving child), status (the desire to have greater access to resources than others), and affiliation (the desire to fit in). …

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