Exploring Differences in Crisis Literacy and Efficacy on Behavioral Responses during Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Public Relations Review.  

Abstract: This study examined the effects of literacy and efficacy on individuals’ protective action taking and information seeking during the early phase of infectious disease outbreaks through a nationally representative survey of 1,164 U.S. adults. New measures of disaster literacy and crisis efficacy were tested. Overall, results revealed that crisis efficacy and organizational efficacy drove protective action taking and information seeking intentions, while health literacy did not. Disaster literacy negatively predicted both protective action advice seeking and information seeking. The findings highlight the importance of strengthening public efficacy and improving relationships between health authorities and the public, which is greatly influenced by the public’s confidence in the health authority’s management of the crisis.

Yan Jin 

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