Rural Parents' Perceptions of Risks Associated with Their Children's Exposure to Radon

Authors

  • Wade G. Hill,

    1. Ph.D., A.P.R.N., B.C., is Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Montana State University, 207 Sherrick Hall, Bozeman, Montana,
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  • Patricia Butterfield,

    1. Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., is Professor & Chair, Department of Psychosocial and Community Health, University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle, Washington,
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  • Laura S. Larsson

    1. M.P.H., R.N., is OHSU Regional Doctoral Student, College of Nursing, Montana State University, 206 Sherrick Hall, Bozeman, Montana
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Wade G. Hill, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Montana State University, 207 Sherrick Hall, Bozeman, MT 59715. E-mail: whill@montana.edu

Abstract

ABSTRACT Objectives: To examine the level of awareness of radon issues, correlates of elective testing behaviors, and the accuracy of risk perception for radon exposures among rural residents receiving public health services.

Design: A cross-sectional design was used in which questionnaire data and household analytic data for radon levels were collected from a nonprobabilistic sample of rural households.

Sample: Thirty-one rural households with 71 adults and 60 children participated in the study. Primary household respondents were female (100%), Caucasian (97%), and primarily (94%) between 21 and 40 years of age.

Measurement: Questionnaire data consisted of knowledge and risk perception items about radon and all homes were tested for the presence of radon.

Results: The prevalence of high airborne radon (defined as≥4 pCi/l) was 32%. More than a third of the sample underestimated the seriousness of health effects of radon exposure, 39% disagreed that being around less radon would improve the long-term health of their children, and 52% were unsure whether radon could cause health problems. After adjusting for chance, only 21% of the subjects correctly understood their risk status.

Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that low-income rural citizens do not understand their risk of radon exposure or the deleterious consequences of exposure.

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