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MS Thesis Defense - Dominic Cristiano

An investigation of the attitudes and behavioral outcomes of Nebraskan hunters towards tick-borne disease

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Larkin Powell,
As changes in climate, land-use, and vegetation alter the landscape of the Great Plains, new threats to public health are emerging. Incidences of tick-borne disease contraction in Nebraska have increased nearly 250% over the past two decades – newly established species like Ixodes scapularis may introduce challenges for health practitioners, including more cases of Lyme disease. Strategies for tick-borne disease prevention must incorporate effective health messaging. Audience segmentation may be a useful technique to provide health communication, as it allows for targeted messaging that speaks to specific attitudes and beliefs of a given population. One tool for usefully segmenting populations is the Risk Perception Attitude Framework (RPAF) – this groups individuals into four categories based on their perceived risk towards a threat and their efficacy in protecting themselves from the threat. We applied the RPAF to a sample of hunters in Nebraska to assess differences in level of intention to perform preventative behaviors between the four RPAF groups. Our Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) model found significantly higher behavior intent among individuals in the RPAF group with highest perceived risk and self-efficacy, backing up previous RPAF literature. This information can be used to identify clusters of individuals with similar beliefs towards tick-borne disease and provide more effective health messaging about this threat.

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This event originated in School of Natural Resources.