The Conceptualization of Risk Tolerance and Scale Development for Measuring Publics’ Tolerance of Individual Health Risks

Hyoyeun Jun (Grady PhD Alum) and Yan Jin (Forthcoming). “The Conceptualization of Risk Tolerance and Scale Development for Measuring Publics’ Tolerance of Individual Health Risks.” Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research.

Abstract: Risk tolerance, identified by scholars over two decades ago as an essential concept in risk communication, has remained understudied without clear conceptual and operational definitions. As the first study developing a multiple-item scale for measuring at-risk publics’ tolerance of different risk types, this study refines the conceptualization of risk tolerance and advances its operationalization in the setting of individual health risks. Qualitative research (in-depth interviews: n=28; focus group: n=30) and two survey datasets (sample 1: n=500; sample 2: n=500) were employed for scale development and testing. Results identify that two types of individual health risk tolerance exhibited by at-risk publics: 1) Compulsive tendency toward risk taking (CTRT), as evidenced in their unwillingness to refrain from risky behaviors even if they know the negative consequences; and 2) Inertial resistance to risk prevention (IRRP), as indicated by their indifference toward or intentionally ignoring health messages advocating for behavioral changes. The two-factor 13-item scale’s reliability, factorial structure, and validity are further assessed.  This risk tolerance scale provides a valid and reliable psychometric tool for risk communication scholars and practitioners to measure publics’ tolerance of different individual health risks in order to design effective messages to overcome it as a barrier.

Chinese Newspapers’ Coverage of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) from 2008 to 2018: A Content Analysis of News Framing and Portrayals of Health Risks and Stigma.

Abstract: As the first study of Chinese newspaper coverage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) over the past decade (2008-2018), this paper analyzed how different categories of Chinese newspaper media (Party press, City press, and special interests and industry oriented press) framed AD related health belief information (e.g., susceptibility and severity) and stigma over time. A total of 419 newspaper articles on AD were content analyzed. Findings indicate that Chinese newspapers provided inadequate and incomplete health belief information on AD. Findings also indicate the tendency of increasing episodic framing, of inverted V-shape of stigmatization of labeling human differences and the V-shape of stigmatization of negative image over time, and of increasing family stigma mentioned. Recommendations for health media professionals and health communication practitioners on AD coverage and AD health information dissemination were further provided.