Effects of alternative styles of risk information on EMF risk perception

Nielsen, Jesper Bo, Elstein, Arthur, Gyrd-Hansen, Dorte, Kildemoes, Helle Wallach, Kristiansen, Ivar Sønbø and Stovring, Henrik (2010) Effects of alternative styles of risk information on EMF risk perception. Bioelectromagnetics, 31 7: 504-512. doi:10.1002/bem.20586

Author Nielsen, Jesper Bo
Elstein, Arthur
Gyrd-Hansen, Dorte
Kildemoes, Helle Wallach
Kristiansen, Ivar Sønbø
Stovring, Henrik
Title Effects of alternative styles of risk information on EMF risk perception
Journal name Bioelectromagnetics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0197-8462
Publication date 2010-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/bem.20586
Volume 31
Issue 7
Start page 504
End page 512
Total pages 9
Place of publication United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Language eng
Abstract Risk scenarios characterized by exposures to new technologies with unknown health effects, together with limited appreciation of benefits pose a challenge to risk communication. The present report illustrates this situation through a study of the perceived risk from mobile phones and mobile masts in residential areas. Good information should objectively convey the current state of knowledge. The research question is then how to inform lay people so that they trust and understand the information. We used an Internet-based survey with 1687 Danish participants randomized to three types of information about radiation from mobile phones and masts. The objective was to study whether different types of information were rated as equally useful, informative, comprehensible, and trustworthy. Moreover, an important issue was whether information would influence risk perception and intended behavior. The conclusion is that lay people rate information about risks associated with a new and largely unknown technology more useful and trustworthy when provided with brief statements about how to handle the risk, rather than more lengthy technical information about why the technology may or may not entail health hazards. Further, the results demonstrate that information may increase concern among a large proportion of the population, and that discrepancies exist between expressed concern and intended behavior.
Keyword Information strategy
Internet survey
Mobile phones
Randomized study
Risk communication
Risk perception
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Medicine Publications
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