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Evaluating bovine tuberculosis risk communication materials in Michigan and Minnesota for severity, susceptibility, and efficacy messages

Authors

  • Bret A. Muter,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 480 Wilson Road, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
    • Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 480 Wilson Road, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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  • Meredith L. Gore,

    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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  • Shawn J. Riley,

    1. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 480 Wilson Road, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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  • Maria K. Lapinski

    1. Department of Communication, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Ortega

Abstract

Communication programs are a tool available to wildlife managers for managing risks associated with wildlife diseases such as bovine tuberculosis (TB). Evaluating these communication efforts is vital for successful disease management planning; yet, systematic evaluations of wildlife disease-related communication programs are lacking. To this end, we analyzed the content of 41 print and electronic TB risk communication materials (e.g., brochures, handouts, websites) available to stakeholders in Michigan and Minnesota, USA, during April 2010 to 1) describe and compare the materials; 2) make data-based recommendations to improve existing messages; and 3) highlight the ability of the extended parallel process model (EPPM), a well-known health communication theory, to serve as a framework for evaluation of wildlife disease issues. All message components central to the EPPM were identified in our sample of TB risk communication materials. More than 80% of materials promoted ≥1 behaviors believed to reduce the risks of TB transmission among and between wildlife and livestock in Michigan and Minnesota. Messages conveying severity and susceptibility of TB-related risks were present in 73% and 56% of the materials, respectively; whereas, efficacy messages promoting the ease and effectiveness of recommended behaviors were far less prevalent. Results provide insights for future TB and wildlife disease-related risk communication efforts (e.g., design messages that enhance stakeholder perceptions of efficacy) and demonstrate the utility of the EPPM as a framework to evaluate risk communication materials and messages for wildlife disease-related stakeholders. © 2013 The Wildlife Society

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