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Hygiene during the pandemic: Discipline or practice?

Last updated 6 months ago by UtrechtCentral.com

Countries differ in the austerity of their Corona-related measures. As the summer arrived, many countries relaxed the measures. Now, however, rumors of new lockdown plans surface in Europe and across the world. Researchers at Utrecht University investigate the behaviors which can help us keep the virus in check and avoid new drastic measures.

As simple as washing your hands?

By now we are all familiar with the basic rules. We should keep our distance, work from home if possible or get tested if symptoms arise. The behavior targeted by the Utrecht University’s research is more basic than just hand washing. It is not complicating, but it is easy to forget about it if you have not yet formed the habit.

The research

The Utrecht scientists compare two groups of people: one which receives reminders to wash their hands and one which does not. The goal is to identify the techniques which make it the easiest for hand washing to become a habit. If people adopt this hygiene behavior and naturally perform it, the spread of the virus can be slowed more easily.

The results

The research is in its final stages and the results are expected to come out at the end of September. In the media, discipline is often mentioned in relation to people’s adherence to the COVID-19 measures. However, the problem can be framed differently. It is not about discipline, but the formation of habit. Maybe we should focus on helping people become as accustomed to keeping their distance and washing their hands as they are to making coffee or cycling. This seems to be the core message of the research.

The results of the research can be shared with the RIVM. They could implement them in new behavioral change and advice campaigns for the population.

Source: Utrecht University

Silviu Alexandru Costea
Silviu Alexandru Costea
Silviu A. Costea is a psychology student with a deep appreciation for beauty, may it be in art, science, nature, or anywhere else. With his passion for writing and experience as an international student, he is dedicated to providing quality content on various topics. He is a keen listener and he is convinced that everyone has a story worth sharing.

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