Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2017

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Risk Communication in Public Health and Medical Contexts

Room: Salon 2   10:30 am–12:00 pm

Chair(s): Graham Dixon

Sponsored by Risk Communication Specialty Group

M2-K.1  10:30 am  Mapping the media and risk landscape around Zika: Where do people get information about risk? Wirz CD*, Johnson BB; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Decision Research

Abstract: Our media environments have been rapidly evolving for several decades, especially with the advent of online platforms and tools like search engines and social media. These advances have dramatically changed the way people seek and are exposed to information about risk. This study uses the recent outbreak of the Zika virus as a case study for understanding what types of media (e.g. broadcast news, online news, social media) and specific outlets (e.g. ABC, Fox News, the New York Times) people used in the U.S. to get information about the Zika virus. This research also analyzes how media use and the specific content of different media types relate to risk perceptions surrounding to the Zika virus. This study uses a combination of survey data collected in four waves from July 2016 to April 2017 from a U.S. national online panel, and content analyses of varied sources and source types identified by respondents as sources they used for information about Zika. The content analyses were performed for the week before each wave of the survey was launched, of such content as whether risks or reassurances were emphasized, or whether management options such as travel warnings or spraying for mosquitoes were mentioned. This study advances understanding of media use and agenda-setting for risk judgments and management preferences.

M2-K.2  10:50 am  US public opinion about insecticide spraying in the context of Zika virus. Lull RB*, Hallman WK, Brossard D, Jamieson KH; California State University, Fresno; Rutgers University; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: The 2015-16 Zika virus outbreak in the Americas emphasized the importance of suppressing the primary Zika vector, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. In the US, suppression campaigns largely rely on spraying insecticides from the ground and air. Yet, few studies have examined public opinion regarding these vector suppression methods within the context of preventing Zika infections. To do so, we conducted a nationally representative survey of the US population in November 2016. We used structural equation modeling to examine approval of ground spraying and aerial spraying, respectively, as functions of risk and benefit perceptions of each method, concerns about Zika, and engagement with the Zika issue. For ground spraying, the model fit the data well, χ2(128)=214.91, CFI=.96, TLI=.95, SRMR=.06, RMSEA=.04. As predicted, risk perceptions (β=-0.23, p<.001) and benefit perceptions (β=.72, p<.001) were significant determinants of ground spraying approval. Contrary to our prediction, Zika concern was not associated with approval (β=.06, p<.27), and engagement with the issue of Zika in media channels was associated with risk perceptions (β=.14, p<.03) but not benefit perceptions (β=.05, p<.51). For aerial spraying, the model fit the data acceptably, χ2(128)=314.87, CFI=.93, TLI=.92, SRMR=.07, RMSEA=.05. As predicted, risk perceptions (β=-0.31, p<.001) and benefit perceptions (β=0.81, p<.001) were significant determinants of aerial spraying approval. Zika concern also was associated with approval (β=.11, p<.01), but issue engagement was not associated with risk perceptions (β=0.05, p<.34) or benefit perceptions (β=-0.03, p<.63). These models have several implications; among these are important potential differences in how people construe ground spraying compared to aerial spraying, the role of Zika concern in aerial spraying approval but not ground spraying approval, and the relative importance of benefit perceptions compared to risk perceptions in both contexts.

M2-K.4  11:10 am  Ethics and risk in human gene editing: how type and use of gene editing impacts public risk perceptions. Howell EL*, Kohl P, Scheufele DA, Xenos MA, Brossard D; University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abstract: Development of the gene editing tool CRISPR Cas-9 accelerated gene editing research and heightened public attention on the potential for human gene editing. Support for research, applications, and regulation will depend on public perceptions of potential risk, benefit, and ethical concerns from human gene editing. Research on these perceptions, however, is sparse, especially on how public opinion might vary depending on different types of proposed gene editing applications. Potential edits can be heritable (germline) or not (somatic) and used for therapeutic (treating or preventing illness) or enhancement (going beyond “normal” human characteristics) purposes. This study examines how these dimensions might differentially shape public perceptions and what those differences mean for advancing public discourse and the scientific research itself. In a nationally representative survey (N=1,600; completion rate=41.7%) U.S. adults randomly received a control condition or one of four vignettes explaining one of the following types of gene editing: 1) somatic edits for therapy uses; 2) somatic edits for enhancement uses; 3) germline edits for therapy uses; and 4) germline edits for enhancement uses. We examine how each vignette influenced perceptions of risk, benefit, and ethical concerns around human gene editing for the public as well as for relevant subgroups, such as respondents with higher levels of religiosity and knowledge. Initial results indicate that, compared with the enhancement conditions, the therapy conditions are positively related to perceptions that human gene editing is morally acceptable and likely beneficial and negatively related to perceptions that human gene editing allows humans to play god, messes with nature, and poses risks. Overall, the therapy-enhancement distinction shaped views more than the somatic-germline distinction did. The germline enhancement condition, however, tended to be most strongly associated with negative views of gene editing.

M2-K.6  11:30 am  Effective Communication – the fourth factor in Physician-Patient Relationship (PPR) in Cancer Treatment . Khan KJ*, Begum N; University of Vienna

Abstract: The physician-patient relationship is being built on three factors: professional advice, medical treatment and care. The fourth factor that cuts across these three is the ‘communication’. Whereas the first three are evidenced from the medical record of the patient, the fourth one is indiscernible or too small to be seen. As a result, it is difficult to establish what kind of information is being passed on to patients, particularly suffering from cancer and what impact does it have on patient’s decision making about treatment. The very reason for this missing link is the potential risk associated with imaging technology and cancer treatment. Since due to physician-patient privacy accord, direct observation of conversation is not advisable although critical, therefore the researchers have to rely on the perception of parties involved. At social level, the word ‘cancer’ is still a taboo in many communities and is considered a painful experience through diagnosis to treatment and survival. During the last few decades, the cancer treatment has shown tremendous advancement positively affecting the survival rate and palliative care to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors. The perception about cancer can be changed by creating awareness among patients, their relatives and the general public audience. Thus the effort to highlight the importance of effective communication between physicians and patients is worth making. Doctors have the 'power of persuasion’ to influence patients’ decision making and could help in democratisation of culture. Therefore, a word from them on popular media through ‘conversationalization’ of the issue on the model of other themes such as politics, science and technology to make it ‘marketized’, could have an immense impact on the social understanding of the disease.

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