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Psychological and socio-cultural factors affecting latrine ownership and usage in rural South India



Sebastian Nancy*, Kamal Batcha Mujibur Rahman, Selvaraju Sathish Kumar, Kasinathan Murugesan & Uthirapathy Udhayakumar



Department of Community Medicine, Vinayaka Mission's Medical College and Hospital, Vinayaka Mission's Research Foundation - Deemed to be University (VMRF-DU), Karaikal, Puducherry, India; *Corresponding author



S. Nancy - E-mail: sngoovi@gmail.com; Phone: +91 9159804286

K. Mujibur Rahman - E-mail: mujrahman@gmail.com; Phone: +91 9843089567

S. Sathish Kumar - E-mail: ssksathish14@gmail.com; Phone: +91 9688536654

K. Murugesan - E-mail: muruknavasalapuri@gmail.com; Phone: +91 9843610926

U. Udhayakumar - E-mail: udhayakumar133@gmail.com; Phone: +91 9566245777

Dean E-mail ID: dean@vmmckkl.edu.in


Article Type

Research Article



Received May 1, 2024; Revised May 31, 2024; Accepted May 31, 2024, Published May 31, 2024



The levels of latrine utilization were lower than the levels of latrine ownership in rural areas owing to certain psycho-social barriers hindering latrine construction and consistent utilization. The study was aimed to identify the proportion of latrine construction and usage and to explore the psychological, socio-cultural and structural factors influencing latrine ownership and utilization. A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out at the four villages of Villupuram district for three months. After IEC clearance, information was collected from a representative sample of 422 households. Direct observation of the latrines was employed along with surveys. The data were entered and analysed in MS Excel. Categorical variables were expressed as frequencies and percentages. Further, the reasons were categorized into psychological, socio-cultural and structural factors. About 54.7% households owned a latrine and among them 46.8% were using it. Psycho-social factors such as convenience, habitual nature, privacy and space constraints in open defecation influenced latrine ownership. Fear of snakes and insects, safety and protection, time saving and proper functioning latrines with availability of water facilitated latrine utilization are of concern. A multi-faceted strategy employing context-specific behaviour change communication along with Government's financial support would improve both latrine construction and utilization.



latrine, ownership, utilization, psycho-social, sanitation



Nancy et al. Bioinformation 20(5): 502-507 (2024)


Edited by

P Kangueane






Biomedical Informatics



This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. This is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.