Effectiveness and effciency of persuasive space graphics (PSG) in motivating UK primary school children’s hand hygiene

Sophie Rutter, Catherine Stones, Jane Wood, Colin Macduff, Margarita Gomez-Escalada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Good hand hygiene is necessary to control and prevent infections, but many children do not adequately wash their hands. While there are classroom communications targeted at children, the toilet space, the location of many hand hygiene activities, is neglected. This paper describes an initial evaluation of “123” persuasive space graphics (images and messages integrated within an architectural environment that encourage specific actions). The effectiveness (whether hand hygiene improves) and efficiency (the ease with which a setting can adopt and implement an intervention) is evaluated in three UK schools and one museum. Five evaluations (participant demographic, hand washing frequency, hand washing quality, design persuasiveness, stakeholder views) were conducted. In the school settings, persuasive space graphics increased the quality and frequency of hand washing. In the museum setting, frequency of hand washing slightly increased. In all settings children found the graphics persuasive, and stakeholders also believed them to be effective. Stakeholders considered persuasive space graphics a low-cost and time-efficient way to communicate. It can be concluded that persuasive space graphics are effective in increasing hand hygiene, particularly in school settings where children have a longer exposure to the graphics. Persuasive space graphics are also an efficient low-cost means of communicating hand hygiene.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2351
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Data collection tools
  • Hand hygiene
  • Handwashing
  • Measures
  • Research methods
  • Schools


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