The key to risk communication success. The longitudinal effect of risk message repetition on actual self-protective behavior of primary school children

M. Kievik*, E. Giebels, J. M. Gutteling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In the current study, the effect of repetitive risk messages on actual self-protective behavior in both the short- and long-term was tested. The research took place in the Risk Factory, a state-of-the-art safety-education-center in which children (age: 9–13) experience real-life-risks first hand and learn how to deal with dangerous situations. We assumed that risk message repetition increases the level of self-protective behavior to a larger extent than providing only one single risk message or than providing no risk message at all. We chose a behavioral training (active risk-communication) as research indicates that this form is more effective in increasing self-protectiveness than standard-passive techniques of risk communication. In our study among primary school children in the Netherlands (N = 265, Mage = 11.4 years), we tested the added predictive value of repeating risk messages via a serious game over and above the effect of the Risk Factory behavioral training (behavioral training repetition vs. behavioral training vs. no information) on self-protectiveness directly following and 3 months after the interventions. The self-protective behaviors measured in this study were related to “responding to an air aid alarm”, “how to deal with undesired behavior from others on the internet” and “when/how calling the Dutch emergency number (112)”. As expected, risk message repetition led to a significant increase in intentions to engage in as well as actual self-protective behavior on the short- as well as long-term. Respondents receiving risk message repetition showed significantly more risk mitigating behavior shortly after and three months after receiving the risk messages than respondents receiving a single risk message or no risk message. This study demonstrates that risk message repetition is beneficial when trying to enhance the resilience of primary school children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525-1540
JournalJournal of risk research
Volume23
Issue number12
Early online date11 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • behavioral training
  • calling 112
  • children
  • emergency
  • internet safety
  • longitudinal
  • Risk message repetition
  • safety risks
  • actual self-protectiveness

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