Effects of a health-educational and psychological intervention on socio-cognitive determinants of skin protection behaviour in individuals with occupational dermatoses

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Abstract

Purpose

Occupational skin diseases are a significant public health concern. Little is known about the cognitive representations individuals with occupational skin disease have towards measures of personal skin protection and occupational safety and whether they change during an intervention. We aimed to evaluate whether social cognitions as embodied by the theory of planned behaviour become more favourable during a tertiary inpatient individual prevention programme (TIP) and whether the model’s predictions hold in a setting to which the model has not been applied.

Methods

We used a longitudinal design. A questionnaire, assessing the theory of planned behaviour variables attitude, subjective and descriptive norm, perceived behavioural control and behavioural intention was developed and administered to 101 patients before (at admission) and after (at discharge) a 3-week inpatient TIP.

Results

The scales showed good internal consistency. Before the TIP, patients had favourable cognitions towards skin protection measures and these improved during the TIP. Attitude, perceived behavioural control and intention to perform skin protection significantly increased during TIP. Attitude and perceived behavioural control were significant predictors of behavioural intention in multiple regression analyses with perceived behavioural control being the strongest predictor in the equations. Descriptive norm was a significant predictor of intention only at admission but not at discharge.

Conclusion

This is the first study attempting to explain the motivation to perform skin protection measures in patients with occupational skin disease by applying an otherwise well established health-behaviour theory. The results emphasise the importance of health-educational and psychological interventions for patients with occupational skin disease. Promoting personal control over and attitudes towards skin protection measures may enhance the occupational health of individuals with occupational skin disease.