Risk appraisal and risk communication: Some empirical data from the Netherlands reviewed

O. Wiegman, Jan M. Gutteling

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    A discrepancy is observed between the general public's subjective perception 'of environmental hazards, which is characterized by feelings of concern and insecurity, and "objective risk." In this article, theoretical notions about subjective risk perception are reviewed and illustrated with (our own) Dutch research. Our work with respect to environmental hazards is very much inspired by Bandura's social-cognitive theory and his concept of self-efficacy. In this article, research is described that focuses particularly on the role of u self-efficacy in relation to risk perception and behavior, mass media versus Direct experiences with risks, and risk communication processes, illustrating the application of Bandura's notions in the field, of environmental hazards. Results of out studies show, for example, more feelings of insecurity and fear in women, in individuals with a "left-Wing" political preference, and in people highly exposed to mass-media reporting about hazards. People living in the direct vicinity of a large hazardous complex, however, reported feeling less insecure than did people living at a large distance. This last effect is explained by a verification process in which mass-media reports are more likely to be rejected and ignored by direct neighbors of hazardous industrial plants. Finally, consequences for risk communication are discussed
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)227-249
    JournalBasic and applied social psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 1995


    • METIS-148953

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