Mental imagery interventions to promote face covering use among UK university students and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Conroy, Dominic (2022) Mental imagery interventions to promote face covering use among UK university students and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 23 (51). pp. 1-15. ISSN 1745-6215

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Abstract / Description

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has witnessed wide-ranging efforts to minimize the spread of the virus and to protect those most vulnerable to becoming unwell following viral infection. Core COVID-19 preventive measures include social distancing, regular hand washing, and wearing face coverings in public places. Understanding links between social cognitive factors relating to beliefs/skills is important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as this can suggest which factors might be targeted via behaviour change interventions to promote adherence to COVID-19 preventative behaviours. In this context, mental imagery exercises—self-directed imagining of an anticipated outcome or processes linked to a defined behaviour/activity—offer a well-evidenced, relatively simple behaviour change intervention. In the mental imagery invention reported in this protocol, individuals will be randomly assigned to one of four separate conditions (outcome imagery, process imagery, outcome and process imagery, control).

The primary objective of this randomized controlled study is to assess the effectiveness of a mental imagery intervention on wearing face coverings, as a defined core COVID-19 preventative behaviour. Participants will consist of UK university students and university employees of any age. Participants will be randomized to complete an ‘outcome imagery’ or a ‘process imagery’ exercise, both exercises (i.e. a combined condition) or neither exercise (i.e. a control condition). A total of 260 individuals will be recruited into the study. Outcomes for all study condition arms will be assessed at baseline (Time 1), immediately post-intervention (Time 2), and at 1-month follow-up (Time 3). The primary outcome is frequency of wearing face covering, as reported at T2 and T3. Secondary outcomes include intervention effects on face covering attitudes, social norms, perceived behavioural control and barrier self-efficacy at T2 and T3. Putative moderators of intervention effects are conscientiousness, narcissism and ‘light triad’ personality traits. Discussion: This trial will contribute toward the currently sparse evidence base concerning behaviour change techniques designed to promote COVID-19 preventative behaviours among UK university students and university employees. Trial registration: (U.S. National Library of Medicine) NCT04583449. Retrospectively registered on 20 October 2020.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Springer Nature via Jisc Publications Router
Uncontrolled Keywords: imagery face coverings; behaviour; intervention; health; COVID-19; intention; attitudes; norms; control; self-efficacy
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology
Department: School of Social Sciences and Professions
SWORD Depositor: Pub Router
Depositing User: Pub Router
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2022 13:01
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2022 13:01


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