Abstract of Meeting Paper

Society for Risk Analysis-Europe 1997 Annual Meeting

Perception and Communication of Risks: Children Vs. Adolescents. V. Rosova, E. Roskova, and G. Bianchi, Department of Social and Biological Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia

Results from the research of risk perception and information sources on risk obtained in the samples of children (N=308) and adolescents (N=150) in Slovakia are presented. Hypothesis on differences in perceiving personal vs. general risks was confirmed in both samples. Differences in the ranking of currently perceived risks in adolescents as compared to 14-yearold children are related to emerging of certain risks dependent on the age (lack of money, unplanned parenthood, extreme social groups). In the hierarchy of the assessed 44 risks, the perceived threat of economic risks (lack of money, price increase) and (macro)social risks (criminality, extreme groups, AIDS) increased significantly in adolescents as well. The adolescents rated their level of knowledge on the risks assessed as average or weak. The mass media were denoted by both groups as the most frequent source of information on risks. From among other assessed information sources (family, school, friends), the share of school in risk communication was evaluated as the smallest. The method of principal components analysis confirmed the expected factor structure of assessed risks. The strongest factor (30.7 % of variance) gathered risks associated with the degradation of the environment (water-, soil-, and air-pollution, chemical substances in the food, diseases due to the effect of the environment) as well as with the use of nuclear energy (nuclear plants, nuclear waste, radioactivity).

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