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
JournalJournal of risk research
Early online date11 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 11 Mar 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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