Building habit strength: A pilot intervention designed to improve food-safety behavior
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NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Food Research International. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Food Research International, Vol. 66 (2014). http://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2014.09.027
The purpose of this study was to firstly design an intervention to decrease cross-contamination in the home by the development of the habitual behavior of microwaving the dishcloth/sponge and secondly to determine if this behavior could be maintained over time. Participants were randomly assigned to either a high-frequency or low-frequency reminder habit building condition or a control condition. Results indicated that for both habit building conditions, food-safety behavior significantly increased compared to the control group and these changes were maintained at follow-up. Additionally, improvement in behavior was mediated by anincrease in habit strength. The major conclusion of this study is that providing a cue to action and reminders builds food-safety habits that result in changes in food-safety behaviors. This has major implications for other food-safety interventions.
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