Intended for healthcare professionals


Public health messages that invoke disgust work best for men, study finds

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 16 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4277
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    When it comes to communicating the dangers of faeces men are most likely to take notice of messages that invoke disgust, but women respond best to notices that impart knowledge, a study has found (American Journal of Public Health 2009;99(suppl):S405-11, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.164160).

    Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London tested the impact of different messages on handwashing with soap that were flashed on to screens at the entrance to toilets at UK service station. Sensors were used to monitor the use of soap by 200 000 people who used the facilities.

    Several messages were tested, ranging from “Water doesn’t kill germs, soap does” …

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