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This research looks at hand-washing behavior of students at a large regional university. The authors observed how hand-washing behavior varies by race, gender, having an observer present, and time of day. Of the 184 students observed, most (103) were men. The majority (107) of those observed were whites; while 77 fell in the other race category. Of 184 observations, 86 were not “observed” by another in the bathroom. Observations were made in the morning and afternoon. Utilizing social deprivation theory, the authors hypothesized that women and minorities would be more likely than others to wash their hands. The data provide empirical support for this proposition. Further, having an observer present made it more likely that a person would wash his or her hands.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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