Background: Helping adults and children develop better hygiene habits is an important public health focus. As infection causing bacteria can live on one’s body and in the surrounding environment, more effective interventions should simultaneously encourage personal-hygiene (e.g. hand-hygiene) and environmental-disinfecting (e.g. cleaning surfaces). To inform the development of a future multi-faceted intervention to improve public health, a systematic literature review was conducted on behavior change interventions designed to increase hand-hygiene and environmental-disinfecting in settings likely to include children.
Methods: The search was conducted over two comprehensive data-bases, Ebsco Medline and Web of Science, to locate intervention studies that aimed to increase hand-hygiene or environmental-disinfecting behavior in settings likely to include children. Located article titles and abstracts were independently assessed, and the full-texts of agreed articles were collaboratively assessed for inclusion. Of the 2893 titles assessed, 29 met the eligibility criteria. The extracted data describe the Behavior Change Techniques (version 1) that the interventions employed and the interventions’ effectiveness. The techniques were then linked to their associated theoretical domains and to their capability-opportunity-motivation (i.e., COM-B model) components, as described in the Behavior Change Wheel. Due to the heterogeneity of the studies’ methods and measures, a meta-analysis was not conducted.
Results: A total of 29 studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of interventions were designed to increase hand-hygiene alone (N = 27), and the remaining two interventions were designed to increase both hand-hygiene and environmental-disinfecting. The most used techniques involved shaping knowledge (N = 22) and antecedents (N = 21). Interventions that included techniques targeting four or more theoretical domains and all the capability- opportunity-motivation components were descriptively more effective.
Conclusions: In alignment with previous findings, the current review encourages future interventions to target multiple theoretical domains, across all capability-opportunity-motivation components. The discussion urges interventionists to consider the appropriateness of interventions in their development, feasibility/pilot, evaluation, and implementation stages.