Changing Homeowners’ Behaviors Involving Toxic Household Chemicals: A Psychological, Multilevel Approach

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Abstract

We describe an education and behavior change program with a multi-level approach. The program goal is to change how people think about, use, store, and dispose of toxic household chemicals. We assume that changing long-standing behaviors is difficult, requires interventions at multiple points in the individual/group/society/physical environmental system, and requires interventions that address both short- and long-term behavior change. The heart of our program is small group discussions, with a trained leader who uses psychological theories to increase educational impact. Questionnaires indicated that participants were very pleased with the program, especially recipes for homemade nontoxic alternatives. We estimate that the presentation yielded almost three times as much cooperation as the previous 5 years of publicity and promotion (33% vs. 12%).

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