ASSESSING RISK PERCEPTION OF THE PUBLIC
This tool provides a standard questionnaire that can be used to measure risk perception among the general population in case of an outbreak of an infectious disease. It gives example questions that can be used in a risk perception survey. It also provides insight in the organisation of the survey, analysis of results, and translation into communication messages.
When controlling infectious diseases it is essential that authorities communicate well with the public. Not only because the public is entitled to be informed about the risks in their area, but also because research shows that people who are well informed feel safer, are less distressed, and respond better to an outbreak of an infectious disease. Communication must be tailored to the public as much as possible. In case of a newly emerging infectious disease, authorities do not know exactly what the general public thinks, feels, and fears. It is therefore wise to hold a survey to measure knowledge gaps, perceived severity and susceptibility, fear, perceived efficacy of measures, and information needs. This will enable targeted communication, addressing specific needs of the audience.
HOW TO USE THE TOOL
The tool provides a standard questionnaire to measure risk perception in case of an outbreak of an infectious disease. It gives example questions how to measure knowledge, perceived seriousness of the disease, perceived susceptibility to the disease, extent of anxiety, perceived efficacy of preventive measures, self-efficacy (whether people think they themselves are able to perform the required measure), intention to carry out the measures, motivating/hindering factors, and information needs (preferred topics, preferred source, and preferred medium). The tool also provides guidance how to organise a survey, analyse results, and translate findings into communication messages.
This tool can be used together with another tool in this toolbox (Assessing disease & public characteristics), which helps to assess the urgency of risk communication in case of an infectious disease outbreak.