Heat protection behaviors and positive affect about heat during the 2013 heat wave in the United Kingdom.

Lefevre, CE; Bruine de Bruin, W; Taylor, AL; Dessai, S; Kovats, S; Fischhoff, B; (2015) Heat protection behaviors and positive affect about heat during the 2013 heat wave in the United Kingdom. Social science & medicine (1982), 128C. pp. 282-289. ISSN 0277-9536 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.01.029

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Heat waves pose serious health risks, and are expected to become more frequent, longer lasting, and more intense in the future under a changing climate. Yet, people in the UK seem to feel positive when thinking about hot weather. According to research on the affect heuristic, any positive or negative emotions evoked by potentially risky experiences may be used as cues to inform concerns about risk protection. If so, then their positive feelings toward hot weather might lead UK residents to lower intentions to adopt heat protection behaviors. Here, we examine the relationships between heat protection behaviors during the July 2013 UK heat wave and self-reports of having heard heat protection recommendations, feeling positive affect about heat, seeing heat protection measures as effective, and trusting the organizations making those recommendations. Responses to a national survey revealed that 55.1% of participants had heard heat protection recommendations during the 2013 UK heat wave. Those who reported having heard recommendations also indicated having implemented more heat protection behaviors, perceiving heat protection behaviors as more effective, feeling more positive about heat, and intending to implement more protection behaviors in future hot summers. Mediation analyses suggested that heat protection recommendations may motivate heat protection behaviors by increasing their perceived effectiveness, but undermine their implementation by evoking positive affect about hot weather. We discuss our findings in the context of the affect heuristic and its implications for heat protection communications.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
PubMed ID: 25635375
Web of Science ID: 351323500035
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2088548


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