University of Twente Student Theses


Scared of infections : a qualitative research and mental models approach on Toxoplasmose

Friggemann, A. (2015) Scared of infections : a qualitative research and mental models approach on Toxoplasmose.

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Abstract:Background: Zoonosis are diseases that are naturally transmissible from vertebrate aninmals to humans and vice versa. The risk of such a zoonotic disease, like Toxoplasmose which is caused by the single-celled parasite Taxoplasma gondii, is higher for people who have a weakened immune system from disease or medication. The immune system of pregnant women, children or elderly people is also often compromised and thus not fully functional. At the present moment there is less known about peoples beliefs and knowledge about Toxoplasmose. This research aims to find out what the dutch general public’s conceptions and beliefs with regard to Toxoplasmose are. This knowledge is important to adjust the risk communication to the public. By knowing how people perceive a given risk and how they build mental representations of it, it gets possible to design and develop effective interventions to change and modulate a person’s health-related behaviour. Method: Through semi-structured interviews with respondents (n=9) information about people’s knowledge about zoonosis, their spreading, perceived risk, treatment and prevention measures should be gathered. To process the gathered information a thematic analysis is applied and codes were made. The found codes were compared to an expert model to define them as correct or incorrect beliefs. Results: The study shows that approximately the half of the Dutch general public knows the most basic facts concerning to prevention. Many misconceptions do exist with regard to the ways how it can be spread between animals, humans and other different hosts. Basic facts about the Origin of Toxoplasmose and about Risk Factors seem to be well-known by the respondents. With regard to the consequences following from an infection with the disease correct conceptions were not stated by the majority of the dutch respondents. The dutch general public seems not to be well informed about treatment procedures and possibilities. Discussion: The results show that the mental models of the general public are different to the expert model. In order to improve the dutch general public’s health related behaviour with regard to Toxoplasmose the Health Belief Model can form the basic structure to take action. To deal with the general public’s information needs implementing an e-health design, such as an website, to spread information seems to be a useful way. The usage of Persuasive System Design can help to make a website exactly tailored to the target group. Spreading adjusted information is necessary to adjust the risk communication to the conceptions of the public and therefore make it useful to change their behaviour and perception.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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