Theory-based approaches to understanding public emergency preparedness: implications for effective health and risk communication. Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent natural and human-caused disasters have awakened public health officials to the importance of emergency preparedness. Guided by health behavior and media effects theories, the analysis of a statewide survey in Georgia reveals that self-efficacy, subjective norm, and emergency news exposure are positively associated with the respondents' possession of emergency items and their stages of emergency preparedness. Practical implications suggest less focus on demographics as the sole predictor of emergency preparedness and more comprehensive measures of preparedness, including both a person's cognitive stage of preparedness and checklists of emergency items on hand. We highlight the utility of theory-based approaches for understanding and predicting public emergency preparedness as a way to enable more effective health and risk communication.

published proceedings

  • J Health Commun

author list (cited authors)

  • Paek, H., Hilyard, K., Freimuth, V., Barge, J. K., & Mindlin, M.

citation count

  • 96

complete list of authors

  • Paek, Hye-Jin||Hilyard, Karen||Freimuth, Vicki||Barge, J Kevin||Mindlin, Michele

publication date

  • January 2010