Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Rapid Adaptation and Optimisation of a Digital Behaviour Change Intervention to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 in Schools

Version 1 : Received: 11 March 2022 / Approved: 15 March 2022 / Online: 15 March 2022 (11:05:30 CET)

How to cite: Treneman-Evans, G.; Ali, B.; Denison-Day, J.; Clegg, T.; Yardley, L.; Denford, S.; Essery, R. The Rapid Adaptation and Optimisation of a Digital Behaviour Change Intervention to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 in Schools. Preprints 2022, 2022030208 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202203.0208.v1). Treneman-Evans, G.; Ali, B.; Denison-Day, J.; Clegg, T.; Yardley, L.; Denford, S.; Essery, R. The Rapid Adaptation and Optimisation of a Digital Behaviour Change Intervention to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 in Schools. Preprints 2022, 2022030208 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202203.0208.v1).

Abstract

The rapid transmission of COVID-19 in school communities has been a major concern. To ensure that mitigation systems were in place and support was available, a digital intervention to encourage and facilitate infection control behaviours was rapidly adapted and optimised for implementation as a whole school intervention. Using the person-based approach, ‘Germ Defence’ was iteratively adapted, guided by relevant literature, co-production with Patient and Public Involvement representatives, and think aloud interviews with forty-five school students, staff, and parents. Suggested infection control behaviours deemed feasible and acceptable by the majority of participants included handwashing/hand-sanitising and wearing a face covering in certain contexts such as crowded public spaces. Promoting a sense of collective responsibility was reported to increase motivation for the adoption of these behaviours. However, acceptability and willingness to implement recommended behaviours seemed to be influenced by participants’ perceptions of risk. Barriers to the implementation of recommended behaviours in school and at home primarily related to childcare needs and physical space. We conclude that it was possible to rapidly adapt Germ Defence to provide an acceptable resource to help mitigate against infection transmission within and from school settings. Adapted content was considered acceptable, persuasive, and accessible.

Keywords

behaviour change; digital intervention; COVID-19; school

Subject

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, Other

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