The influence of environmental hazard maps on risk beliefs, emotion, and health-related behavioral intentions

Res Nurs Health. 2013 Aug;36(4):330-48. doi: 10.1002/nur.21544. Epub 2013 Mar 26.


To test a theoretical explanation of how attributes of mapped environmental health hazards influence health-related behavioral intentions and how beliefs and emotion mediate the influences of attributes, 24 maps were developed that varied by four attributes of a residential drinking water hazard: level, proximity, prevalence, and density. In a factorial design, student participants (N = 446) answered questions about a subset of maps. Hazard level and proximity had the largest influences on intentions to test water and mitigate exposure. Belief in the problem's seriousness mediated attributes' influence on intention to test drinking water, and perceived susceptibility mediated the influence of attributes on intention to mitigate risk. Maps with carefully illustrated attributes of hazards may promote appropriate health-related risk beliefs, intentions, and behavior.

Keywords: environmental health; hazard proximity; health promotion; risk communication; visual communication; visual perception.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Culture*
  • Drinking Water
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Geographic Mapping
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maps as Topic*
  • Risk Management / organization & administration*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / prevention & control*
  • Wisconsin
  • Young Adult


  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical