Translation of Risk Information for the Public: Message Development

  • Elaine Bratic Arkin
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Risk Analysis book series (CIRA, volume 4)


The development of messages that will inform the public about risks to their health and encourage them to take appropriate action is a vital step in the communications process. Because the abstract concept of risk is difficult to explain and comprehend, message development may be one of the most frustrating stages in the process. This frustration is shared by agency officials who are responsible for risk communication and face a public untrained to understand scientific methodology and technical terminology, as well as citizens who want concrete answers and action regarding health risks instead of uncertain responses. Barriers to effective communications include the nature of health risk science, limitations of the media and other communication channels, and public perceptions of risk. Therefore, the message development process must encompass how the public perceives health risk messages, characteristics of the target audiences and selected communications channels, principles for message design, and message testing.


National Cancer Institute Target Audience Risk Communication Risk Information Union Carbide Corporation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaine Bratic Arkin
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute for Health Policy AnalysisGeorgetown University Medical CenterUSA

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