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Chapter 6 - Risk communication, risk perception and behavior as foundations of effective national security practices

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrategic Intelligence Management
Subtitle of host publicationNational Security Imperatives and Information and Communications Technologies
EditorsBabak Akjgar, Simeon Yates
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780124071919
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2013

King's Authors

Research outputs


This chapter will argue that risk communication, risk perception, and behavior must be recognized as foundations of effective national security, and that policies and practices that do not incorporate the concepts underpinning effective risk communication are bound to fail. In doing so, this chapter will provide a detailed explanation of the primary drivers and, thus, the primary targets of all risk communication: risk perception and behavior. It will explain how risk perceptions influence the psychological and behavioral responses that play a key role in determining health, social, and economic impacts of extreme events. It will then unpack the relationship between risk communication, risk perception, and behavior. This will entail an exploration of the underlying issues informing expert and public variations in perceived risk, the identification of likely behavioral reactions to extreme events, and an illustration of the ways in which effective risk communication can mitigate negative impacts by reducing unnecessary care seeking and increasing compliance with official guidance. Finally, this chapter suggests steps that can be taken to better enable practitioners and policy makers to develop risk communication messages and emergency response programs capable of informing public perceptions of risk and positive health behaviors.

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