From information to intervention: connecting risk communication to individual health behavior and community-level health interventions during the 2016 Zika outbreak

Rachael Piltch-Loeb, David Abramson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emerging disease threats are on the rise. Risk communication in an emerging threat is used by public health officials to reach the population in a timely and effective manner. However, limited research has drawn on data gathered during an emerging threat to understand how risk communication shapes intervention perceptions. This analysis examines the relationship between risk communication, especially where information comes from, and receptivity to individual-level and community-level health interventions in an emerging threat using evidence from the 2016 rise of Zika. Data comes from a repeat cross-sectional survey conducted three times in 2016, representative of the United States population. Drawing on leading theories of risk communication, a structural model (SEM) is used to measure the relationships of interest. Two distinct SEMs are used to compare and contrast the relationship between source of information and individual health behavior change and community-level health interventions while also exploring the role of knowledge, perceived risk, and demographics. Results of both direct and indirect SEM pathways show different sources of information may be more effective in promoting particular interventions. Promoting community-level interventions can be accomplished through dissemination of information in print news to increase knowledge and ultimately receptivity. However, there is a far more complex relationship between risk communication and personal intervention receptivity. With a more nuanced understanding of the way information from a particular source effects intervention receptivity, communicators can reach the public more effectively to limit the consequences of an emerging public health threat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Risk Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • communication
  • emerging threat
  • Information source
  • knowledge
  • risk perception
  • Zika

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Strategy and Management

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