Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and health risk communication are key elements within the complex process of informing communities with regard to environmental and health issues. The European Se-veso Directive emphasizes the importance of communication, stating that population must be appro-priately informed about the risk related to environmental and industrial hazards. In this context, an im-portant issue is how we should communicate to the citizens the results of the epidemiological studies. In fact, these results can be expressed in several ways, which can be more or less understandable and have different impact in term of risk perception. The aim of our study was to compare the relative ef-fectiveness of alternative risk and uncertainty indicators in transferring the scientific knowledge to the community. This objective was carried out in the context of an exemplary case study: the Livorno high risk area. Here, we conducted a randomized controlled study on a random sample of residents strati-fied by sex, age and district. The survey was preceded by in-depth interviews on individuals from the target population. Here we explain the methodological approach and we discuss the first results. The qualitative analysis points out that individual risk perception depends on the statistical indicators used to communicate knowledge, they are not objective and neutral. Furthermore, believes, meanings, be-haviors and personal experience play a key role in the risk perception.

Approcci statistici ed epidemiologici alla comunicazione del rischio in aree ad alto rischio ambientale

FARINELLA, DOMENICA;
2014

Abstract

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and health risk communication are key elements within the complex process of informing communities with regard to environmental and health issues. The European Se-veso Directive emphasizes the importance of communication, stating that population must be appro-priately informed about the risk related to environmental and industrial hazards. In this context, an im-portant issue is how we should communicate to the citizens the results of the epidemiological studies. In fact, these results can be expressed in several ways, which can be more or less understandable and have different impact in term of risk perception. The aim of our study was to compare the relative ef-fectiveness of alternative risk and uncertainty indicators in transferring the scientific knowledge to the community. This objective was carried out in the context of an exemplary case study: the Livorno high risk area. Here, we conducted a randomized controlled study on a random sample of residents strati-fied by sex, age and district. The survey was preceded by in-depth interviews on individuals from the target population. Here we explain the methodological approach and we discuss the first results. The qualitative analysis points out that individual risk perception depends on the statistical indicators used to communicate knowledge, they are not objective and neutral. Furthermore, believes, meanings, be-haviors and personal experience play a key role in the risk perception.
risk perception, communication, statistical uncertainty, risk indicators, qualitative research, HIA
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/117837
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