Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Dixon, Mark


The following research was conducted to contribute to the greater understanding of the impact that most often utilized methods of public awareness and education have on behaviors relative to sickness and disease for the general public in terms of action toward prevention behaviors within a healthcare setting. The psycho educational approach is often considered an effective means to promote behavior change as it relates to preventative behavior, and in the clinical therapeutic setting has shown some relevance as an effective procedure. Unfortunately, no research as of yet speaks to the comparative effectiveness this approach may have over other approaches often thought to enhance preventative behavior, such as the more empirically based behavior analytic methods. This study provides such an analysis of the effectiveness each methodology has on changing the behavior of the public at large. Based on a study conducted in the academic setting to increase hand-sanitizing behavior of facility patrons (Loukus & Dixon, in review), this study utilizes the most effective form of prompting found to increase sanitizer use in a public facility. Because healthcare facilities often rely on psycho educational methodologies to influence sanitizer use amongst visitors and employees by placing "sanitizing stations" at the main entrance to the facility, this setting provides an appropriate venue for scientific manipulation of prompting variables to determine effectiveness on public preventative behavior towards sickness and disease, while a simple reversal design enhances the comparative value of effects obtained on behavior through observation and implementation of the two approaches within the setting.




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