Social cognitive determinants of hand washing : The relationship between trust in health information and hand washing behavior among young Finnish men

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703272109
Title: Social cognitive determinants of hand washing : The relationship between trust in health information and hand washing behavior among young Finnish men
Author: Suppliet, Julia
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2012
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703272109
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/37134
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Social Psychology
Sosiaalipsykologia
Socialpsykologi
Abstract: Background: Many people fall sick because of infectious diseases transmitted through hands. Many of those diseases could be avoided through frequent hand washing. Trust in information from health authorities is important for compliance with recommended hand washing behavior in times of a current public health threat. However, it remains uncertain if this is also the case in times of no current health threat. Aim: This thesis applies a social-cognitive model and examines social cognitive factors predicting hand washing and their relations to trust in authority-provided health information. Methods: Cross-sectional data from N=140 young Finnish men aged 18-22 was collected in the Finnish army in 2011 to test the assumptions that, (1) trust in authority-provided health information is associated with higher knowledge, higher self-efficacy, higher perceived effectiveness of hand washing, lower perceived risk, and less disease worry; (2) Higher self-efficacy, higher knowledge, higher perceived effectiveness of hand washing, higher perceived risk, and higher disease worry is associated with more hand washing and to explore (3) whether there is a direct effect of trust in authorityprovided information on hand washing and whether it is mediated by self-efficacy, knowledge, perceived effectiveness of hand washing, perceived risk and disease worry. Results: The results show that trust in authority-provided health information is associated with higher self-efficacy, higher knowledge, higher perceived effectiveness and lower perceived risk; that higher self-efficacy and higher disease worry are associated with hand washing; and that there is a direct independent effect of trust in authorityprovided health information on hand washing. Furthermore, it was found that trust in authority-provided health information differs according to the educational level. Conclusion: The results are important to understand how certain social cognitive predictors of behavior are related to both, hand washing and trust in authority-provided health information, in times of no current health threat. The results give information for designing health intervention campaigns, which should address self-efficacy, disease worry and trust in authority-provided information. Moreover, it is suggested to modify the social-cognitive model in so far as to include more social influences.


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