Household members of diarrhea patients are at higher risk of developing diarrheal diseases (>100 times for cholera) than the general population during the 7 days after the diarrhea patient is admitted at a health facility. There is growing evidence demonstrating that theory-driven water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions are likely to yield greater behavior change than those based on health education alone. The Cholera Hospital-Based Intervention for 7-Days (CHoBI7) mobile health (mHealth) program is a theory-driven WASH intervention initially delivered to a diarrhea patient by a health promoter during a health facility visit and reinforced through weekly voice and text messages. In the recent randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the CHoBI7-mHealth program in Bangladesh, this intervention significantly reduced diarrheal disease and stunting, and increased handwashing with soap and stored drinking water quality over the 12-month program period. The aim of this study was to assess the underlying mechanism of change of this intervention. Handwashing with soap was measured by 5-hour structured observation. Stored drinking water quality was assessed by the presence of Escherichia coli during unannounced spot checks. Psychosocial factors were measured among 1,468 participants in the CHoBI7-mHealth RCT. Perceived susceptibility, response efficacy, self-efficacy, dirt reactivity, and diarrhea knowledge were mediators of the CHoBI7-mHealth program’s effect on stored drinking water quality at the 1-week follow-up. Self-efficacy, response efficacy, and diarrhea knowledge were mediators of the intervention’s effect on handwashing with soap habit maintenance and stored drinking water quality at the 12-month follow-up. This study demonstrates how theory-driven approaches for intervention design can facilitate WASH behavior change.
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