Poor hand hygiene is a major contributor to hospital acquired infection. In this study, a comparison of the related attitudes of psychiatric and non-psychiatric nurses was made using a cross-sectional survey design. N = 79 nurses who work in psychiatric or non-psychiatric hospital wards completed questionnaires regarding intended compliance with hand-washing protocols and potential cognitive predictors of compliance. Perceived ease of compliance and behavioural norms, and working in a non-psychiatric ward, predicted superlative intended compliance. Working in psychiatry did not in itself predict outgroup membership suggesting that psychiatric ward-related factors, rather than psychiatric nurse-related factors are most relevant in determining between-group differences. Consideration of factors unique to psychiatry wards during service design could improve compliance.