Predictors of Perceived Zoonotic Disease Risk Among the American Public Open Access

Grigg, Cheri (2013)

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Background: During the past twenty years, several newly emerged, zoonotic diseases have resulted in outbreaks in the United States of America (U.S.). With these emergence events and the increased role of media in health communication, public risk perception has become an important factor influencing health behaviors of the general public.
Objective: As a step toward understanding factors that influence zoonotic disease risk perception, this analysis examined demographic characteristics, disease knowledge, attitudes, practices and media exposure as predictors of an elevated perception of zoonotic disease risk
Methods: Results of a nationally representative survey were used to construct a perceived zoonotic disease threat score (PTS). Student's t-test was used to examine the difference in mean PTS between individuals with and without each exposure or characteristic of interest. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to allow further characterization of the relationship between individual characteristics and elevated PTS. Results of the exploratory factor analysis were used in the construction of a logistic regression model predicting the odds of elevated PTS.
Results: Exploratory factor analysis resulted in a three factor solution, with each factor named based on the concepts it represents (Prevention Behaviors, Knowledge Seeking Behaviors, H1N1 Concerns). A binary logistic regression model was constructed using the 3 Factor solution, sex, race, household income, education level, U.S. Census Division and having a child as predictors. When adjusting for other demographic and lifestyle characteristics, Knowledge Seeking Behaviors (Adjusted odds ratio 2.7; 95% Confidence Interval 1.8-4.1), H1N1 Concerns (0.1; 0.007-0.7), male sex (1.4; 0.98-2.1), Black race (2.3; 1.4-3.7), household income levels above $24,999 and education levels beyond a high school diploma each predicted an elevated PTS. Results from the logistic regression model were similar to the results of the initial correlation estimates.
Conclusion: The ability to use Knowledge Seeking Behaviors, H1N1 Concerns, sex, race, household income and education level in predicting populations with increased odds of having a high perception of risk, can be an important tool allowing health communicators target specific populations and create customized public health messaging and zoonotic disease risk communication.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents I. Background...Page 1 II. Methods...Page 6 III. Results...Page 9 IV. Discussion...Page 12 V. Future Directions...Page 16 VI. References...Page 18 VII. Tables....Page 24 a. Table 1: Infectious disease threat questions b. Table 2: Demographic characteristics & mean perceived threat level of HealthStyles Respondents 2009 c. Table 3: Mean perceived threat level by participant exposures, knowledge, attitudes and practices; HealthStyles Respondents 2009 d. Table 4: Rotated Factor Pattern e. Table 5: Predictors of a High (>20) Perceived Threat Score VIII. Appendix: Census Regions and Divisions of the United States...Page 29

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