Background. Hand washing is an effective way to prevent transmission of infectious diseases. Education and promotional materials about hand washing may change individuals’ awareness toward hand washing. Infectious disease outbreak may also affect individuals’ awareness. Aims. Our study aimed to examine associations between hand-washing education and self-reported hand-washing behaviors among Korean adults during the year of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak. Methods. Data from the 2015 Community Health Survey were used for this study. The total study population comprised 222,599 individuals who were older than 20 years of age. A multiple linear regression model was used to investigate associations between hand hygiene education and self-reported hand-washing behaviors. Subgroup analyses stratified by age, sex, income, and MERS outbreak regions were also performed. Results. Individuals who received hand-washing education or saw promotional materials related to hand washing had significantly higher scores for self-reported use of soap or sanitizer (β = 0.177, P <.0001) and self-reported frequency of hand washing (β = 0.481, P <.0001) than those who did not have such experiences. The effect of hand-washing education on self-reported behavior change was greater among older adults, women, and lower income earners. The effect of hand hygiene education on self-reported use of soap or sanitizer was similar regardless of whether the participants lived in MERS regions. Conclusion. Our findings emphasize the importance of education or promotions encouraging hand washing, especially for older adults, women, and lower income earners. In addition, MERS outbreak itself affected individuals’ awareness of hand-washing behaviors. Well-organized campaigns that consider these factors are needed to prevent infectious diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health