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Article

Explaining Handwashing Behavior in a Sample of College Students during COVID-19 Pandemic Using the Multi-Theory Model (MTM) of Health Behavior Change: A Single Institutional Cross-Sectional Survey

1
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
2
Office of Research, School of Medicine, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89102, USA
3
Substance Use and Mental Health Laboratory, Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
4
Human Environmental Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Healthcare 2021, 9(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010055
Received: 20 November 2020 / Revised: 25 December 2020 / Accepted: 3 January 2021 / Published: 6 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection COVID-19: Impact on Public Health and Healthcare)
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, handwashing offers a simple and effective hygienic measure for disease prevention. Reportedly, a significant proportion of college students did not follow handwashing recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the pre-COVID era. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore and explain the handwashing behavior among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic using a contemporary fourth-generation multi-theory model (MTM) of health behavior change. Data were collected from 713 college students at a large public university in the Southern U.S. in October 2020 using a validated 36-item survey. Statistical analyses included independent samples t-tests, Pearson correlation, and hierarchical regression modeling. Among students not following handwashing recommendations, the constructs of participatory dialogue (β = 0.152; p < 0.05) and behavioral confidence (β = 0.474; p < 0.0001) were statistically significant and accounted for 27.2% of the variance in the likelihood of initiation of the behavior. Additionally, the constructs of emotional transformation (β = 0.330; p < 0.0001), practice for change (β = 0.296; p < 0.0001), and changes in the social environment (β = 0.180; p < 0.05) were statistically significant and accounted for 45.1% of the variance in the likelihood of sustaining handwashing behavior. This study highlights the applicability and usability of the MTM in designing and testing behavior change interventions and media messaging in campaigns targeting college students. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-theory model; behavior change; COVID-19; pandemic; handwashing; young adults; college students multi-theory model; behavior change; COVID-19; pandemic; handwashing; young adults; college students
MDPI and ACS Style

Sharma, M.; Batra, K.; Davis, R.E.; Wilkerson, A.H. Explaining Handwashing Behavior in a Sample of College Students during COVID-19 Pandemic Using the Multi-Theory Model (MTM) of Health Behavior Change: A Single Institutional Cross-Sectional Survey. Healthcare 2021, 9, 55. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010055

AMA Style

Sharma M, Batra K, Davis RE, Wilkerson AH. Explaining Handwashing Behavior in a Sample of College Students during COVID-19 Pandemic Using the Multi-Theory Model (MTM) of Health Behavior Change: A Single Institutional Cross-Sectional Survey. Healthcare. 2021; 9(1):55. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010055

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sharma, Manoj, Kavita Batra, Robert E. Davis, and Amanda H. Wilkerson. 2021. "Explaining Handwashing Behavior in a Sample of College Students during COVID-19 Pandemic Using the Multi-Theory Model (MTM) of Health Behavior Change: A Single Institutional Cross-Sectional Survey" Healthcare 9, no. 1: 55. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010055

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