IWA Publishing

Socio-psychological determinants for safe drinking water consumption behaviors: a multi-country review

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The effectiveness of household water treatment practices relies heavily on consumers' compliance. However, what is driving these behaviors from a health psychological perspective is not well understood. A review of studies on safe water collection, treatment, handling and storage practices was conducted to identify important socio-psychological determinants. The objectives are to show which determinants commonly explain safe water consumption practices and how well they do so, and to identify behavior- and population-specific determinants to be targeted in different contexts. The results of the review reveal that all the practices studied can be explained well, with a mean of 62% explained variance between performers and non-performers. Social norms, action knowledge, and perceived self-efficacy were shown to be the most common influential factors for safe water practices. Instrumental beliefs around costs and benefits as well as affective beliefs such as taste are important in a majority of cases but varied more strongly, both for different target behaviors and between specific settings and populations, and are thus to be evaluated from case to case. The review gives clear recommendations on which behavioral factors to address with priority and corresponding behavior change techniques to be made use of in contexts where formative research is not possible.

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