Unregulated private wells may be at risk for certain types of contamination associated with adverse health effects. Well water testing is a primary method to identify such risks, although testing rates are generally low. Risk communication is used as an intervention to promote private well testing behavior; however, little is known about whether these efforts are effective as well as the mechanisms that influence effectiveness. A systematic scoping review was conducted to evaluate the current evidence base for risk communication effectiveness and factors that influence well testing behavior. The review was conducted with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) framework. Data were synthesized using a health behavior model (Health Belief Model) to identify areas amenable to intervention and factors to consider when designing risk communication interventions. We identified a significant shortage of studies examining the effectiveness of risk communication interventions targeted to well testing behavior, with only two quasi-experimental studies identified. The review also identified seventeen studies that examined or described factors relating to well testing behavior. The two empirical studies suggest risk communication methods can be successful in motivating private well owners to test their water, while the remaining studies present considerations for developing effective, community-specific content.
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