Racial Disparities in Cleanliness Attitudes Mediate Purchasing Attitudes Toward Cleaning Products: a Serial Mediation Model
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The present study has three objectives (1) to examine whether there are differences in cleanliness concerns between African Americans and European Americans toward kitchen items that are known to be vectors of disease, (2) to examine whether disparities in cleanliness attitudes have an impact on purchasing attitudes toward kitchen cleaning products, and (3) to explore the mechanisms that may account for these differences utilizing a serial mediation model. Five hundred participants, 50% African American and 50% European American were shown a picture of a sponge cleaning product and filled out multiple survey instruments relating to cleanliness attitudes. We found greater concern with cleanliness of kitchen items (d = .46) and a greater willingness to purchase cleaning products among African Americans compared to European Americans (17 vs 10%). A serial mediation analysis revealed that general cleanliness concerns account for the increased willingness to spend money on cleaning products among African Americans. These results suggest that African Americans are more sensitive to issues of cleanliness compared to European Americans and, in particular, are more sensitive to cleanliness of kitchen items such as sponges, which can be vectors of food-borne pathogens. Potential reasons for the observed racial disparities in cleanliness attitudes and the implications of these results for public health are discussed.
KeywordsRacial disparities Cleanliness attitudes Contamination attitudes Public health African Americans
The authors would like to thank Matthew W. Flannery and Tod Maitland, owners of SpongeBath, LLC for their contributions and for providing the stimuli for this study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Leib Litman, Monnica T. Williams, Zohn Rosen, Sarah Weinberger-Litman, and Jonathan Robinson declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Studies Involving Human Participants
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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