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Unique non-majority population perceptions and responses to chemical (VX) threat

J. Neil Henderson, PhD1, L. Carson Henderson, PhD, MPH2, Gary E. Raskob, PhD1, and Jason Davis, BA3. (1) Health Promotion Sciences, University of Oklahoma, 801 NE13th St. PO Box 26901, Oklahoma City, OK 73190, 405-271-2017, neil-henderson@ouhsc.edu, (2) Two Hawk Institute, P.O. Box 2258, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-2258, (3) Health Science Center, University of Oklahoma, School of Public Health, 801 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104

“Special Population Segments” (SPS’s) were included in a large multi-site investigation of knowledge, information seeking, and behavioral response to chemical (VX) terrorist threats. African-American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, rural, and English-as-second-language populations distributed across the USA comprised the SPS’s (n=90). Focus groups using a standardized questionnaire generated discourse analyzed by a standardized system of defined domains of interest. Qualitative analyses revealed three important experiential categories differentially affecting the SPS cohort: 1) communication isolation, 2) concerns regarding the Federal government, and 3) rural physical environmental attributes. Each category had specific variations along three other axes: 1) linguistic impediments, 2) adaptations to rural life, and 3) ethnocultural variances. Cross-analyses show the following issues: !) linguistic impediments accrue to multi-lingual populations (particularly those without fluency in English) living in an American environment of English language chauvinism and concern that the government will not engage in optimally effective multi-lingual translation, 2) adaptations to rural life include use of local communication systems including direct public-to-authority personal contact, reliance on radio, dual concern about livestock survival and their potential as a source of spread, and viewing low population density as protective, and 3) ethnocultural variance includes African-American and American Indian distrust of Federal government, Asian government trust, American Indian trust of tribal government, Spanish speakers’ desire for Spanish language availability, but preference for first using English news outlets to avoid potential fact-alteration due to Latin “emotionality.” These findings show that outreach to non-majority population segments regarding terrorist threats requires knowledge of their unique adaptations to life.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Empowering Communities to Face Emerging Environmental Health Challenges

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA