Norovirus on cruise ships: Motivation for handwashing?

Jeffrey J. Fisher, Barbara A. Almanza, Carl Behnke, Douglas C. Nelson, Jay Neal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The cruise industry is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry. Concurrent with its growth is the challenge of mitigating the risk associated with illness outbreaks onboard ships. Norovirus is the leading cause of shipboard illnesses. This study examined the efficacy of the protection motivation theory (PMT) for predicting passengers’ intentions toward handwashing in the context of norovirus disease incidence. The results of this study indicated that people were willing to engage in protection motivation in order to avoid the communicated threat. The threat appraisal construct and coping appraisal construct were both analyzed. Overall, the protection motivation theory explained 58% of the variability in handwashing intention. The coping appraisal construct significantly predicted handwashing intention. The strongest predictor for handwashing intention was cost. Furthermore, this study revealed a need for continued educational efforts directed at passengers because almost one-third of respondents indicated that they had no prior knowledge of norovirus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Cruise
  • Handwashing
  • Norovirus
  • Outbreak
  • Protection motivation


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