Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in food: Which behaviour change strategies increase consumers’ risk awareness and preventive food-handling behaviour?
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Objectives We aimed to identify the potential of behaviour change strategies to effectively increase consumers? risk awareness, behavioural intention, and preventive food-handling behaviour to reduce the transmission risk of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria through food. The applied strategies targeted knowledge and determinants of the health action process approach (HAPA). We tested techniques that are expected to increase knowledge, risk perception, and positive outcome expectancy (Study 1) as well as those that increase planning and coping self-efficacy (Study 2) in two randomised control trials.Methods In Study 1 (N?=?328), a 2x2 between-subject design was employed to investigate the effects of an educational video about the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and a personalised risk message on knowledge, risk perception, outcome expectancy and consequently on intention regarding safe food-handling behaviour. In Study 2 (N=129), we used a 2x2 design to examine to what extent goal setting (implemented vs. not implemented) and time (pre- vs. post-test) affected planning, coping self-efficacy, and preventive food-handling behaviour.Results In Study 1, we found that the video increased knowledge and the perceived susceptibility of risk compared to the control video. We found no increase on the dependent variables after receiving the personalised risk message. In Study 2, goal setting significantly improved safe food-handling behaviour compared to the control condition. Moreover, participants in the goal-setting condition showed more planning of safe food-handling measures and of dealing with emerging barriers than participants in the control condition.Conclusions These findings demonstrate that the delivery of an educational video on the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is a useful strategy to increase risk awareness, whereas goal setting presents a promising approach to improve food-handling behaviour. Following the HAPA, an additional effective behaviour change technique is required that decreases negative outcome expectancies and improves coping self-efficacy, thereby further improving intention and behaviour.
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