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

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2170 (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 (www.SuperAmma.org) was adapted from an open access toolkit developed by the same research team (www.ChooseSoap.org). 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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