Communicating Actionable Risk for Terrorism and Other Hazards

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We propose a shift in emphasis when communicating to people when the objective is to motivate household disaster preparedness actions. This shift is to emphasize the communication of preparedness actions (what to do about risk) rather than risk itself. We have called this perspective “communicating actionable risk,” and it is grounded in diffusion of innovations and communication theories. A representative sample of households in the nation was analyzed using a path analytic framework. Preparedness information variables (including content, density, and observation), preparedness mediating variables (knowledge, perceived effectiveness, and milling), and preparedness actions taken were modeled. Clear results emerged that provide a strong basis for communicating actionable risk, and for the conclusion both that information observed (seeing preparedness actions that other have taken) and information received (receiving recommendations about what preparedness actions to take) play key, although different, roles in motivating preparedness actions among the people in our nation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Health Science, California State University, Fullerton, CA, USA. 2: Department of Sociology and Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, CO, USA. 3: School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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