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Information Seeking and Workplace Safety: A Field Application of the Risk Perception Attitude Framework

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Communication theory is ideally suited to advance systematic forms of knowledge about workplace safety. The focus of this research is to examine workplace safety using health communication theory and research. A field study using a random sample of production workers (n=645) in a manufacturing organization was conducted, to investigate individuals' risk perception and efficacy beliefs and to validate the predictions of the risk perception attitude framework. Results were consistent with the theory, as risk and efficacy jointly predicted safety behavior, behavioral intentions, and safety information-seeking intentions. Given a particular level of risk, those with greater efficacy beliefs displayed more positive safety outcomes than those with lower efficacy beliefs. The responsive group (high risk, high efficacy) reported safer outcomes than the avoidant group (high risk, low efficacy) and the proactive group (low risk, high efficacy) reported safer outcomes than the indifferent group (low risk, low efficacy). This theoretical frame provides practical directions as to what shapes the safety behaviors and communication patterns of workers in dangerous jobs and offers insights for safety information-seeking and workplace safety.

Keywords: Efficacy; Health Communication; Information-Seeking; Occupational Safety; Risk

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00909880802101763

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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