Ich erhielt einen Master of Science (2009) und ein PhD (2015) in Psychologie von der Universität Zürich (CH). In meinem PhD- und meinem Postdoc-Projekt an der Eawag (2011-2016) erforschte ich Verhaltensänderung im Wasser-, Sanitär- und Hygienebereich in Entwicklungsländern. Als Postdoktorandin in der Gruppe Umweltpsychologie an der Universität Groningen (NL; 2016-2019) untersuchte ich die gesellschaftliche Akzeptanz nachhaltiger Innovationen und Verhaltensänderung im Umweltbereich. Seit November 2019 leite ich das Cluster Umwelt- und Gesundheitspsychologie an der Eawag.
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The role of social identification for achieving an open-defecation free environment: a cluster-randomized, controlled trial of community-led total sanitation in Ghana
Unsafe sanitation practices are a major source of environmental pollution and are a leading cause of death in countries of the Global South. One of the most successful campaigns to eradicate open defecation is "Community-Led Total Sanitation" (CLTS). It aims at shifting social norms towards safe sanitation practices. However, the effectiveness of CLTS is heterogeneous. Based on social identity theory, we expect CLTS to be most effective in communities with stronger social identification, because in these communities individuals should rather follow social norms. We conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial with 3,216 households in 132 communities in Ghana, comparing CLTS to a control arm. Self-reported open defecation rates and social identification were assessed pre-post. Generalized Estimating Equations showed that CLTS achieved lower open defecation rates compared to controls. This effect was significantly stronger for communities with stronger average social identification. The results confirm the assumptions of social identity theory. They imply that pre-existing social identification needs to be considered for planning CLTS, and strengthened beforehand if needed.
Harter, M.; Contzen, N.; Inauen, J. (2019) The role of social identification for achieving an open-defecation free environment: a cluster-randomized, controlled trial of community-led total sanitation in Ghana, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 66, 101360 (8 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.101360, Institutional Repository
Increasing the regular use of safe water kiosk through collective psychological ownership: a mediation analysis
Unsafe water consumption is the environmental risk factor in sub-Saharan Africa contributing most to premature death. In urban slums and dispersed rural communities, where access to safe water is especially limited, water kiosks are a relevant safe water source. However, irregular use challenges their operational viability and may cause discontinuation. The present study investigated collective psychological ownership for the kiosk as a potential factor to increase regular kiosk use. Data were collected cross-sectionally in one urban and two rural kiosk sites through interviews in study households (N = 205) and analyzed by path analysis. Involvement in decision-making related to the kiosks explained collective psychological ownership for the kiosks. Collective psychological ownership, in turn, explained self-reported kiosk use through social-cognitive factors. The results emphasize the importance of community involvement in decisions related to kiosk installation and maintenance because it may contribute to regular kiosk use.
Over-reporting in handwashing self-reports: potential explanatory factors and alternative measurements
Handwashing interventions are a priority in development and emergency aid programs. Evaluation of these interventions is essential to assess the effectiveness of programs; however, measuring handwashing is quite difficult. Although observations are considered valid, they are time-consuming and cost-ineffective; self-reports are highly efficient but considered invalid because desirable behaviour tends to be over-reported. Socially desirable responding has been claimed to be the main cause of inflated self-reports, but its underlying factors and mechanisms are understudied. The present study investigated socially desirable responding and additional potential explanatory factors for over-reported handwashing to identify indications for measures which mitigate over-reporting. Additionally, a script-based covert recall, an alternative interview question intended to mitigate recall errors and socially desirable responding, was developed and tested. Cross-sectional data collection was conducted in the Borena Zone, Ethiopia, through 2.5-hour observations and 1-hour interviews with the primary caregivers in households. A total sample of N = 554 was surveyed. Data were analysed with correlation and multiple regression analyses and dependent t-tests. Over-reporting of handwashing was associated with factors assumed to be involved in (1) socially desirable responding, (2) encoding and recall of information, and (3) dissonance processes. The latter two factor groups explained over-reported handwashing beyond socially desirable responding. The alternative interview question—script-based covert recall—reduced over-reporting compared to conventional self-reports. Although the difficulties involved in measuring handwashing by self-reports and observations are widely known, the present study is the first to investigate the factors which explain over-reporting of handwashing. This research contributes to the limited evidence base on a highly important subject: how to evaluate handwashing interventions efficiently and accurately.
Changing handwashing behaviour in southern Ethiopia: a longitudinal study on infrastructural and commitment interventions
Improved hand hygiene efficiently prevents the major killers of children under the age of five years in Ethiopia and globally, namely diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases. Effective handwashing interventions are thus in great demand. Evidence- and theory-based interventions, especially when matched to the target population's needs, are expected to perform better than common practice. To test this hypothesis, we selected two interventions drawing on a baseline questionnaire-study that applied the RANAS (Risk, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities, Self-regulation) approach and focused on the primary caregivers of households in four rural, water-scarce kebeles (smallest administrative units of Ethiopia) in southern Ethiopia (N=462). The two interventions were tested in combination with a standard education intervention in a quasi-experiment, as follows: kebele 1, education intervention, namely an f-diagram exercise, (n=23); kebele 2, education intervention and public-commitment (n=122); kebele 3, education intervention and tippy-tap-promotion (i.e. handwashing-station-promotion; n=150); kebele 4, education intervention, public-commitment and tippy-tap-promotion (n=113). In kebeles 3 and 4, nearly 100% of the households followed the promotion and invested material and time to construct for themselves a tippy-tap. Three months after intervention termination, the tippy-taps were in use with water and soap being present in up to 83% of the households (kebele 4). Pre-post data analysis on self-reported handwashing revealed that the population-tailored interventions, and especially the tippy-tap-promotion, performed better than the standard education intervention. Tendencies in observed behaviour and a recently developed implicit self-measure pointed to similar results. Changing people's hand hygiene is known to be a challenging task, especially in a water-scarce environment. The present project suggests not only to apply theory and evidence to improve handwashing interventions' effectiveness, but also emphasizes the relevance of tailoring interventions to the target population.
Social-cognitive factors mediating intervention effects on handwashing: a longitudinal study
Handwashing with soap effectively prevents diarrhoea, a leading cause of death in infants. Theory-based interventions are expected to promote handwashing more successfully than standard approaches. The present article investigates the underlying change processes of theory-based handwashing interventions. A nonrandomised field study compared a standard approach to two theory-based interventions that were tailored to the target population, the inhabitants of four villages in southern Ethiopia (N = 408). Data were collected before and after interventions by structured interviews and analysed by mediation analysis. In comparison to the standard approach (i.e., education only), education with public commitment and reminder was slightly more effective in changing social-cognitive factors and handwashing. Education with an infrastructure promotion and reminder was most effective in promoting handwashing through enhancing social-cognitive factors. The results confirm the relevance of testing interventions' underlying change processes.
Identifying the psychological determinants of handwashing: results from two cross-sectional questionnaire studies in Haiti and Ethiopia
Background: Diarrheal disease kills around 760,000 infants every year. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by handwashing with soap. However, the whole range of psychological factors encouraging handwashing is not yet identified and handwashing campaigns are often limited to awareness-raising and education. The purpose of this article was to identify the psychological determinants of handwashing in Haiti (study 1) and Ethiopia (study 2). Methods: Data were collected cross-sectionally by administering face-to-face interviews with the primary caregiver in a participating household (NHaiti = 811; NEthiopia = 463). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed on self-reported handwashing. Results: In both countries, risk factors—meaning awareness and health knowledge—accounted for only 11%-19% of variance in handwashing and were not consistently associated with handwashing. The inclusion of additional factor-groups, namely attitude, norm, ability, and self-regulation factors, led to significant increases in explained variance (P ≤ .01), accounting for 25%-44% of additionally explained variance. The attitude factor disgust, the norm factor, the ability factors motivational self-efficacy and perceived impediments, and the self-regulation factors coping planning and commitment emerged as especially relevant. Conclusions: Handwashing campaigns should focus especially on attitudes and norms and not only on risk.
Contzen, N.; Mosler, H.-J. (2015) Identifying the psychological determinants of handwashing: results from two cross-sectional questionnaire studies in Haiti and Ethiopia, American Journal of Infection Control, 43(8), 826-832, doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2015.04.186, Institutional Repository
Impact of different promotional channels on handwashing behaviour in an emergency context: Haiti post-earthquake public health promotions and cholera response
Aim. In a disaster context, where risk for diarrhoeal disease is elevated, personal hygiene, i.e. handwashing with soap, is especially relevant. However, to date, the promotion of hygiene in an emergency context has not been adequately addressed in the literature. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the effectiveness of hygiene promotions in post-earthquake Haiti. Subject and Methods. Cross-sectional data was collected by means of structured interviews in camps and neighbourhoods in which three affiliates of a well-known relief organisation had conducted hygiene promotions. Primary caregivers were targeted. A total sample of 811 was obtained. Data was analysed using multiple linear regression and mediation analysis. Results. Analysis revealed six promotional channels with positive associations with handwashing behaviour: hygiene radio spots, radio programs with experts answering listener's questions, material distributions with instructions for use, information from friends or neighbours, hygiene theatres, and community clubs. However, five of the promotional channels were negatively related with handwashing. Respondents who experienced a focus group, stickers, posters and paintings, hygiene songs, special hygiene days and home visits tended to wash their hands less often. Conclusions. By revealing positive but also negative associations between hygiene promotions and handwashing behaviour, the study underlines the need to apply theory-driven emergency hygiene promotions which are subjected to in-depth evaluation. Only through doing this, is it ensured that effective hygiene promotions are implemented for the most vulnerable people — those affected by a humanitarian disaster.
Contzen, N.; Mosler, H.-J. (2013) Impact of different promotional channels on handwashing behaviour in an emergency context: Haiti post-earthquake public health promotions and cholera response, Journal of Public Health (Berlin, Heidelberg), 21(6), 559-573, doi:10.1007/s10389-013-0577-4, Institutional Repository