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Theme 2: Improving the behavioural impact of communications

This theme focuses on two priorities.

First, understanding the likely reactions, needs and appropriate communication strategies for groups who may be particularly vulnerable during an emergency.

National and international research has investigated risk communication, public information needs, and intended response during emergencies.  In spite of this, relatively little is known about the interplay of these issues in groups who might traditionally be seen as vulnerable, such as older adults. Our current work examines the potential impact of an influenza pandemic on at-risk or vulnerable populations.  We are using focus groups with two age groups, over-70's and under-25's, to explore issues around risk perception and behavioural intention during a pandemic influenza outbreak.  We are also conducting interviews with emergency planners to inform our understanding of current practice in preparing for a pandemic. This work will allow us to tailor advice around risk and vulnerability during a crisis, reducing health inequalities, and improving health outomces during an emergency. For more information, please contact Julia Pearce.

A second strand of work is considering how best to reduce the problem of widespread non-adherence to prophylactic medication during a crisis.

Following a systematic review of factors influencing adherence to prophylactic medication and in-depth interviews with members of the public, we will use a series of scenario-based experimental studies to assess whether particular messages might improve adherence. Messages will be informed by psychological models of adherence and be capable of dissemination via electronic or SMS systems.

Lead researchers

Dr Brooke Rogers

Reader in Risk and Terror

King's College London