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Keywords:

  • environmental health;
  • risk communication;
  • visual communication;
  • health promotion;
  • hazard proximity;
  • visual perception

Abstract

To test a theoretical explanation of how attributes of mapped environmental health hazards influence health-related behavioral intentions and how beliefs and emotion mediate the influences of attributes, 24 maps were developed that varied by four attributes of a residential drinking water hazard: level, proximity, prevalence, and density. In a factorial design, student participants (N = 446) answered questions about a subset of maps. Hazard level and proximity had the largest influences on intentions to test water and mitigate exposure. Belief in the problem's seriousness mediated attributes' influence on intention to test drinking water, and perceived susceptibility mediated the influence of attributes on intention to mitigate risk. Maps with carefully illustrated attributes of hazards may promote appropriate health-related risk beliefs, intentions, and behavior. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 36: 330–348, 2013