Open Access Research article

Predicting water consumption habits for seven arsenic-safe water options in Bangladesh

Jennifer Inauen12*, Robert Tobias1 and Hans-Joachim Mosler1

Author Affiliations

1 Environmental and Health Psychology, Department of Environmental Social Sciences, Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology, Überlandstrasse 133, Dübendorf, 8600, Switzerland

2 Developmental and Health Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, P.O. Box 5560, Konstanz, 78457, Germany

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:417  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-417

Published: 1 May 2013



In Bangladesh, 20 million people are at the risk of developing arsenicosis because of excessive arsenic intake. Despite increased awareness, many of the implemented arsenic-safe water options are not being sufficiently used by the population. This study investigated the role of social-cognitive factors in explaining the habitual use of arsenic-safe water options.


Eight hundred seventy-two randomly selected households in six arsenic-affected districts of rural Bangladesh, which had access to an arsenic-safe water option, were interviewed using structured face-to-face interviews in November 2009. Habitual use of arsenic-safe water options, severity, vulnerability, affective and instrumental attitudes, injunctive and descriptive norms, self-efficacy, and coping planning were measured. The data were analyzed using multiple linear regressions.


Linear regression revealed that self-efficacy (B = 0.42, SE = .03, p < .001), the instrumental attitude towards the safe water option (B = 0.24, SE = .04, p < .001), the affective attitude towards contaminated tube wells (B = −0.04, SE = .02, p = .024), vulnerability (B = −0.20, SE = .02, p < .001), as well as injunctive (B = 0.08, SE = 0.04, p = .049) and descriptive norms (B = 0.34, SE = .03, p < .001) primarily explained the habitual use of arsenic-safe water options (R2 = 0.688). This model proved highly generalizable to all seven arsenic-safe water options investigated, even though habitual use of single options were predicted on the basis of parameters estimated without these options.


This general model for the habitual use of arsenic-safe water options may prove useful to predict other water consumption habits. Behavior-change interventions are derived from the model to promote the habitual use of arsenic-safe water options.

Habitual health behavior; Social-cognitive predictors; Arsenic-safe drinking water; Regression; Bangladesh