Making it stick: Exploring the effects of information and behavioral training on self-protectiveness of citizens in a real-life safety setting

M. Kievik* (Corresponding Author), E.F.J. Misana-ter Huurne, J.M. Gutteling, E. Giebels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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This study contributes to our knowledge of whether and why citizens engage in self-protective behavior with regard to a real-life risk (the transportation of chemical substances by train). We assume that the way in which relevant risk information is processed, actively vs. passively, is a crucial factor. We hypothesize that behavioral training on self-protectiveness (the active approach) will increase respondents’ perceived feasibility (self-efficacy) and the expected usefulness (response-efficacy) of risk-mitigating options to a larger extent than the passive approach (merely read about it). We subsequently propose that behaviorally trained participants will show more self-protectiveness than merely informed participants. Both groups are also compared to an uninformed control group. First, a behavioral-training-effectiveness-study was conducted in order to explore whether the training developed led to an increase in participants’ efficacy beliefs and self-protectiveness (N = 47). Second, in our main study we took a random sample from the town's population (N = 614) and tested if the instructional method (behavioral training vs. information only vs. no information) is a predictor of efficacy beliefs and self-protectiveness. As expected, the instructional method used and the level of perceived response-efficacy positively influence self-protectiveness. Behaviorally trained respondents perceived risk mitigating options as more useful and showed more self-protectiveness than merely informed and uninformed participants. Furthermore, response-efficacy turned out to be a partial mediator between instructional method and self-protectiveness. Self-efficacy did not significantly predict self-protectiveness in this study. This study demonstrates that using appropriate risk communication tools is crucial in order to increase self-protective behavior of citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalSafety science
Early online date24 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Behavioral training
  • Efficacy beliefs
  • Real-life risk
  • Self-protective behavior


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