Special Issue "Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Liliana Cori
Website
Leading Guest Editor
Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council, (CNR-IFC) Research Unit of Environmental Epidemiology and Disease Registries, Pisa, Italy
Interests: risk communication; risk perception; environment and health research; health impact assessment; ethics; environmental epidemiology; governance; public participation
Prof. Fabrizio Bianchi
Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council, (CNR-IFC) Research Unit of Environmental Epidemiology and Disease Registries, Pisa, Italy
Interests: environmental epidemiology; statistics; environment and health research; ethics and philosophy; governance
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ennio Cadum
Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Health Protection Agency, Department of Hygiene and Health Prevention and Complex Operative Unit Health and Environment and Innovative Projects, Pavia, Italy
Interests: environmental epidemiology; environmental pollution; risk assessment; health impact assessment; hygiene and public health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Research in the environment and health domain is mainly focused on the prevention or limitation of risks to people and biodiversity, using multidisciplinary approaches. Environmental and health research often develops in conflictual contexts from a social and scientific point of view. The knowledge of each of the actors involved can be partial, but, despite this, the results of the research must be usable for making decisions. To pursue these objectives, a broad picture must be taken into account, including the different perspectives of policymakers, citizen, and stakeholders, to reinforce, on the one hand, the validity of research results, and, on the other, the usability of results in decision making all along the governance cycle.

In the environment and health context, the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and preferences of each of the actors involved are not an element of an outline, but form a part of, and substantially influence, research design, its results, and its uptake. Risk perception is a person’s judgment about a certain risk, influenced by facts, knowledge (lay and scientific), personal preferences, and attitudes (dread, trust, interpretation of uncertainty), individual’s assessments (general and specific), and his/her social role (defined “agency” by sociology disciplines, that is, the possibility/ability to act to change one’s condition). The study of risk perception has become increasingly relevant with the recognition that beliefs, knowledge, values, and attitudes influence not only decisions, but also behaviors, and, directly, the exposure of people to environmental pressures. The role of the social, cultural, and contextual factors that influence risk perception has been investigated by many researchers, who have proposed different interpretative models. The studies on risk perception can use direct measurements, via questionnaires, interviews, or qualitative investigations, and indirect methods, like the hedonic-price evaluation, which economists use to attribute costs to different kinds of “goods”.

We are experiencing an unprecedented crisis at a global level, with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic shaking the foundations of public health governance all over the world, and the lives of billions of people in different ways. The Covid-19 outbreak, which exploded at the beginning of 2020, is being examined by thousands of researchers worldwide, and, being a highly transmittable viral infection, social and environmental conditions of overcrowding and closeness between people and animals are among the causes that led to the outbreak. The global consequences are hardly predictable, but due consideration of risk communication and public perception can be a strong instrument to improve governance processes, to support social dialog and mutual cooperation.

This Special Issue offers an opportunity to publish high-quality interdisciplinary research and reviews on environmental health and risk perception, including research developed in the framework of the COVID-19 viral infection outbreak. We welcome manuscripts specifically focusing on the risk perception evaluation of different stakeholders, on the use of risk perception data for decision making, to support governance or to provide information to nourish research design and dissemination. We will also consider articles tackling the issue of risk perception in the framework of political decision-making, and as a tool to reinforce and fine-tune communication campaigns and awareness-raising activities.


Dr. Liliana Cori
Prof. Fabrizio Bianchi
Dr. Ennio Cadum
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • risk perception
  • environmental health
  • decision making
  • risk governance
  • risk communication
  • stakeholder participation
  • risk perception and Covid-19

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Risk Perception and COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3114; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093114 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 18
Abstract
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is shaking the foundations of public health governance all over the world. Researchers are challenged by informing and supporting authorities on acquired knowledge and practical implications. This Editorial applies established theories of risk perception research to COVID-19 pandemic, and [...] Read more.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is shaking the foundations of public health governance all over the world. Researchers are challenged by informing and supporting authorities on acquired knowledge and practical implications. This Editorial applies established theories of risk perception research to COVID-19 pandemic, and reflects on the role of risk perceptions in these unprecedented times, and specifically in the framework of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Special Issue “Research about risk perception in the Environmental Health domain”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Searching for New Directions for Energy Policy: Testing Three Causal Models of Risk Perception, Attitude, and Behavior in Nuclear Energy Context
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7403; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207403 - 12 Oct 2020
Abstract
Although many risk studies investigate perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors, the causal relationships among them have not yet been verified. Thus, further investigations of these relationships are necessary. This study analyzes three causal models consisting of three components: perceptions (i.e., perceived risk in this [...] Read more.
Although many risk studies investigate perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors, the causal relationships among them have not yet been verified. Thus, further investigations of these relationships are necessary. This study analyzes three causal models consisting of three components: perceptions (i.e., perceived risk in this study), attitudes (i.e., satisfaction), and behavior (i.e., support for policy). This study checks these relationships in the context of nuclear energy policy. Using a hierarchical regression model, this study tests three different models between the three components: (1) Model 1 (a high-involvement model), (2) Model 2 (a low-involvement model), and (3) Model 3 (a hedonic model). First, in the high-involvement model, behavior is affected by perceptions and attitudes. In particular, attitudes mediate the relationship between risk perceptions and satisfaction. Second, in the low-involvement model, attitudes indirectly affect perceptions through behaviors. Third, in the hedonic model, behaviors affect attitudes, and risk perceptions do not mediate that relationship. This causal model does not depend on perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear power. Our analysis shows that Model 1 is fully significant, and Model 2 and 3 are only partially significant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Impacting Risk Perception under Typhoon Disaster in Macao SAR, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7357; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207357 - 09 Oct 2020
Abstract
Studying typhoon risk perception and its influencing factors help reveal potential risk factors from the perspective of the public and provide a basis for decision-making for reducing the risk of typhoon disasters. The purpose of this study is to assess the risk perception [...] Read more.
Studying typhoon risk perception and its influencing factors help reveal potential risk factors from the perspective of the public and provide a basis for decision-making for reducing the risk of typhoon disasters. The purpose of this study is to assess the risk perception and related factors of Macao residents in China. Information was collected from 983 participants using a structured questionnaire with an effective utilization rate of 94.2%. Descriptive statistics, univariate analysis and correlation analysis were used to analyze the data. The results show that, on the one hand, there are significant differences in risk perception on the factors included: (1) age, education and other demographic characteristics; (2) health status, occupation, length of stay, residence area, residence floor, family organization structure and individuals monthly income and other personal or family conditions; (3) channels and quantity of typhoon information acquisition; (4) degree of mastery of relevant risk aversion knowledge. On the other hand, some factors still have a moderate or high level of correlation with risk perception: (1) The older the respondent, the lower the education level, the lower the income, the lower the risk perception of property damage, health impact and life threat. (2) The more children or elderly people in the family, the higher the risk perception of respondents. (3) The more risk knowledge, the lower the risk perception. (4) The more channels for obtaining information, the lower the fear level and the overall impact of risk perception. (5) The stronger the risk perception, the more positive disaster response behaviors would be taken by the public. In addition, the more information acquisition channels and the less risk knowledge respondents have, the greater the risk perception of the overall impact and the fear of the typhoon; the fewer information access channels and less risk knowledge respondents have, the greater the risk perceptions of property damage, health effects and life threats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
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Open AccessArticle
How the Health Rumor Misleads People’s Perception in a Public Health Emergency: Lessons from a Purchase Craze during the COVID-19 Outbreak in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7213; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197213 - 02 Oct 2020
Abstract
Health rumors often mislead people and cause adverse health behaviors. Especially during a public health emergency, health rumors may result in severe consequences for people’s health and risk governance. Insight into how these rumors form and harm people’s health behavior is critical for [...] Read more.
Health rumors often mislead people and cause adverse health behaviors. Especially during a public health emergency, health rumors may result in severe consequences for people’s health and risk governance. Insight into how these rumors form and harm people’s health behavior is critical for assisting people in establishing scientific health cognition and to enhance public health emergency responses. Using the case study with interview data of a salient purchase craze led by a health rumor during the COVID-19 outbreak in China, this article aimed to illustrate the process of how a piece of information becomes a health rumor. Furthermore, we identify factors that cause people to believe rumors and conduct behavior that leads to a purchase craze. Results show that a public misunderstanding of the unique psychology of uncertainty, cultural and social cognition, and conformity behavior jointly informs people’s beliefs in rumors and further causes purchase craze behavior. We developed a simplified model to demonstrate how an ordinary news report can lead to a rumor. Based on this model, some implications of effective health communication are suggested for managing rumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
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Open AccessArticle
Explaining the Factors Influencing the Individuals’ Continuance Intention to Seek Information on Weibo during Rainstorm Disasters
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6072; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176072 - 20 Aug 2020
Abstract
Being an interactive process, the success of risk communication needs to ensure the individuals’ right to know and influence their attitudes and perceptions of risk. Ubiquitous social media have expanded risk communication channels and innovated ways of risk communication. At the same time, [...] Read more.
Being an interactive process, the success of risk communication needs to ensure the individuals’ right to know and influence their attitudes and perceptions of risk. Ubiquitous social media have expanded risk communication channels and innovated ways of risk communication. At the same time, uncertainty also arises with the diversity and variety of social media. Taking the rainstorm disaster in China as an example, this study focuses on factors affecting the individuals’ continuance intention of information seeking on Weibo (a social media platform similar to Twitter). Based on 377 valid respondents, this study applied an extended expectation–confirmation model (ECM), from which the results of partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) suggested that continuance intention is positively influenced by factors including effort expectancy, social influence, facilitating conditions, and satisfaction. Among them, satisfaction contributes the most, which helps maintain a balance between performance expectancy and continuance intention. Taking the individuals’ continuance intention to seek information on Weibo as the clue, this research provides government agencies with practical advice on how to use social media for more efficient risk communication during disasters and establish emergency preplans to respond to natural disasters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
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Open AccessArticle
Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Constructs of COVID-19 Health Beliefs: A Comparison Between Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Individuals in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4282; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124282 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
This online survey study aimed to compare the cognitive, affective, and behavioral constructs of health beliefs related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) between sexual minority and heterosexual individuals in Taiwan. In total, 533 sexual minority and 1421 heterosexual participants were recruited through a [...] Read more.
This online survey study aimed to compare the cognitive, affective, and behavioral constructs of health beliefs related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) between sexual minority and heterosexual individuals in Taiwan. In total, 533 sexual minority and 1421 heterosexual participants were recruited through a Facebook advertisement. The constructs pertaining to cognition (perceived relative susceptibility to COVID-19, perceived COVID-19 severity, having sufficient knowledge and information on COVID-19, and confidence in coping with COVID-19), affect (worry toward COVID-19), and behavior (adoption of health-protective behaviors) in relation to health beliefs about COVID-19 were compared between sexual minority and heterosexual participants. The results indicated that sexual minority participants had lower perceived susceptibility to COVID-19, greater self-confidence in coping with COVID-19, and lower worry about COVID-19 and were less likely to maintain good indoor ventilation and disinfect their household than heterosexual individuals. Sexual orientation is the modifying factor for the Health Belief Model in the COVID-19 pandemic and should be taken into consideration when medical professionals establish prevention programs for COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
Open AccessArticle
The Emergence of Risk Communication Networks and the Development of Citizen Health-Related Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Social Selection and Contagion Processes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114148 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a variety of public health strategies have been implemented by governments worldwide. However, the fact that strict government mandates focus on physical distancing does not mean that social connectedness for voluntary risk communication among citizens should be sacrificed. [...] Read more.
Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a variety of public health strategies have been implemented by governments worldwide. However, the fact that strict government mandates focus on physical distancing does not mean that social connectedness for voluntary risk communication among citizens should be sacrificed. Furthermore, we lack an understanding of citizens’ behaviors regarding the voluntary adoption of public health measures and the control of mental wellbeing in the age of physical distancing. Key variables in the response to the global pandemic are the emergence of risk deliberation networks, voluntary compliance with government guidelines, and the restoration of citizens’ subjective health. However, little is known about how citizens’ health-related behaviors coevolve with social connections for sharing information and discussing urgent pandemic issues. The findings show that selection and social influence mechanisms coexist by affecting each citizen’s health-related behaviors and community-led risk discourses in the face of the urgent health crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparison of Infection Venues of COVID-19 Case Clusters in Northeast China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3955; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113955 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The world has been suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic since late 2019. In this study, we compared various types of infection locations in which COVID-19 cases clustered, based on the data from three adjacent provinces in Northeast China. The collected data include all [...] Read more.
The world has been suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic since late 2019. In this study, we compared various types of infection locations in which COVID-19 cases clustered, based on the data from three adjacent provinces in Northeast China. The collected data include all officially reported cases in this area until 8 March 2020. We explored the associations between the cases and the frequency of infection locations. The COVID-19 epidemic situation was worse in Heilongjiang Province than in Liaoning and Jilin Provinces. Most clustered cases occurred in individual families and/or between relatives. The transmission in public venues served as a hub for transmitting the disease to other families and results in new clusters. The public transport spread the infection over long distances by transporting infected individuals, and most infections did not seem to occur within vehicles. This field study shows the effect of indoor environments on SARS-CoV-2 transmission and our data may be useful in developing guidance for future disease prevention and control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
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Open AccessArticle
Media Exposure, Disaster Experience, and Risk Perception of Rural Households in Earthquake-Stricken Areas: Evidence from Rural China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093246 - 06 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
For effective communication and management of disaster risks, it is important to explore how media exposure and disaster experience related to earthquake events affect residents’ prospect ranks of disaster risk perceptions. Using survey data from 327 households located in the Wenchuan and Lushan [...] Read more.
For effective communication and management of disaster risks, it is important to explore how media exposure and disaster experience related to earthquake events affect residents’ prospect ranks of disaster risk perceptions. Using survey data from 327 households located in the Wenchuan and Lushan earthquake regions in China, the ordinary least square method was used to explore the associations among media exposure, severity of disaster experience, and residents’ perception of prospect ranks of the possibility and severity of disasters. The results showed the following. (1) Rural households relied predominately on television broadcasts from traditional media, and on mobile phones and internet content from new media to obtain disaster information. From the residents surveyed, 90% believed that a disaster experience was serious, 82% considered that another major earthquake would seriously affect their lives and property, while approximately 40% of the residents did not believe there would be another major earthquake in the next 10 years. (2) Media exposure was negatively correlated with the perceived prospect ranks of the probability and severity of disasters, with traditional media exposure significantly negatively correlated with the perceived prospect ranks of the severity of disasters and new media exposure significantly negatively correlated with the perceived prospect ranks of the probability of disasters. Severity experience was significantly and positively correlated with the perceived prospect ranks of the probability and severity of disasters. (3) New media exposure moderated the relationship between residents’ disaster experience and their perception of prospect ranks of the severity of disasters. This study can help deepen our understanding of disaster risk communication and better guide the practice of disaster risk management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
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Open AccessArticle
Generational Differences in Perceptions of Food Health/Risk and Attitudes toward Organic Food and Game Meat: The Case of the COVID-19 Crisis in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093148 - 30 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
In December 2019, a novel laboratory-confirmed coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection, which has caused clusters of severe illnesses, was first reported in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, China. This foodborne illness, which reportedly most likely originated in a seafood market where wild animals are [...] Read more.
In December 2019, a novel laboratory-confirmed coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection, which has caused clusters of severe illnesses, was first reported in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, China. This foodborne illness, which reportedly most likely originated in a seafood market where wild animals are sold illegally, has transmitted among humans through close contact, across the world. The aim of this study is to explore health/risk perceptions of and attitudes toward healthy/risky food in the immediate context of food crisis. More specifically, by using the data collected from 1008 respondents in January 2020, the time when China was hit hard by the “Corona Virus Disease 2019” (COVID-19), this study investigates the overall and different generational respondents’ health/risk perceptions of and attitudes toward organic food and game meat. The results reveal that, firstly, based on their food health and risk perceptions of healthy and risky food, the respondents’ general attitudes are positive toward organic food but relatively negative toward game meat. Secondly, older generations have a more positive attitude and are more committed to organic food. Younger generations’ attitude toward game meat is more negative whereas older generations attach more importance to it because of its nutritional and medicinal values. In addition, this research also indicates that the COVID-19 crisis influences the respondents’ perceptions of and attitudes toward organic food and game meat consumption. However, the likelihood of its impact on older generations’ future change in diets is smaller, which implies that older generations’ food beliefs are more stable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Risk Perception of Air Pollution: A Systematic Review Focused on Particulate Matter Exposure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6424; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176424 - 03 Sep 2020
Abstract
The adverse health effects of exposure to air pollutants, notably to particulate matter (PM), are well-known, as well as the association with measured or estimated concentration levels. The role of perception can be relevant in exploring effects and pollution control actions. The purpose [...] Read more.
The adverse health effects of exposure to air pollutants, notably to particulate matter (PM), are well-known, as well as the association with measured or estimated concentration levels. The role of perception can be relevant in exploring effects and pollution control actions. The purpose of this study was to explore studies that analyse people’s perception, together with the measurement of air pollution, in order to elucidate the relationship between them. We conducted a systematic review in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. In March 2020, PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus databases were explored in an attempt to search for studies published from 2000 to 2020. The review included 38 studies, most of which were conducted in China (n = 13) and the United States (n = 11) and published over the last four years (n = 26). Three studies were multicenter investigations, while five articles were based on a national-level survey. The air quality (AQ) was assessed by monitoring stations (n = 24) or dispersion models (n = 7). Many studies were population questionnaire-based, air monitoring and time-series studies, and web-based investigations. A direct association between exposure and perception emerged in 20 studies. This systematic review has shown that most of the studies establish a relationship between risk perception measurement. A broad spectrum of concepts and notions related to perception also emerged, which is undoubtedly an indicator of the wealth of available knowledge and is promising for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research about Risk Perception in the Environmental Health Domain)
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