Effects of threat and efficacy messages on expected adherence to decontamination protocols in an immersive simulated chemical incident: A randomized controlled experiment

Charles Symons*, Richard Amlot, Holly Carter, G. James Rubin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The UK’s Initial Operational Response (IOR) decontamination protocol requires that chemically contaminated casualties remove contaminated clothing (disrobe) and then apply water or absorbent materials to skin. The health-protective efficacy of the protocol is predicated on casualties quickly accepting both the need to act and the fact that this protocol is an effective action. The aim of this study was to test whether adherence is affected by the presentation of information by first responders about the severity and likelihood of contamination (Threat) and the health-protective efficacy of IOR procedures (efficacy). A double-blind randomized controlled experiment (N = 132) with a 3x2 independent measures design (registration number: ISRCTN17886859) was used to assess the effects of threat and efficacy on behavioural expectations during a simulated chemical incident, presented as an immersive video. Results indicated that addressing the threat of contamination made participants more likely to expect themselves to disrobe were the situation real. Emphasizing the efficacy of protective action made participants more likely to expect themselves to apply absorbent materials to skin and had an indirect positive effect on disrobing expectations, mediated by efficacy perceptions. We recommend that first responders explicitly address the threat of contamination and efficacy of decontamination when communicating with chemically contaminated casualties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-76
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is based on independent research commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (PR-ST-1015-10016). In addition, Dr James Rubin, Dr Holly Carter and Prof Richard Aml?t are part-funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE). The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England or other government departments.

Funding Information:
This paper is based on independent research commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (PR‐ST‐1015‐10016). In addition, Dr James Rubin, Dr Holly Carter and Prof Richard Amlôt are part‐funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE). The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England or other government departments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • CBRN
  • adherence
  • communication
  • decontamination
  • immersive video

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