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Informal social networks better at encouraging Hispanics to prepare for disasters

Date:
December 17, 2009
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Informal social networks are more effective than mailers and "media blitzes" at encouraging Hispanics to be prepared for disasters.

Historically, authorities have used broad media campaigns to encourage the public to prepare for disasters -- an approach that has proven largely ineffective. For this new study, UCLA researchers sought to test novel, culturally tailored, informal social networking approaches to improve disaster preparedness, using data on 231 Hispanics in Los Angeles County.

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Researchers randomly assigned study participants to attend pláticas -- discussion groups led by a lay health teacher -- or to receive culturally tailored mailers encouraging them to store bottled water and food and devise a family communication plan in preparation for a disaster. They found that 93.3 percent of plática participants who did not have water at the beginning did so at follow-up, compared with 66.7 percent of those who received mailers; 91.7 percent of the plática group stored food, compared with 60.6 percent of mailer recipients; and 70.4 percent of plática participants had a family communication plan, compared with 42.3 percent of mailer recipients.

This study is the first to use sophisticated techniques to improve disaster preparedness among Hispanics. It shows that lay health teachers who engage people inside their social networks and use culturally tailored contentwere more effective than mailers at encouraging participants to stockpile water and food and create a family communication plan.

Authors of the study, which appears in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are David P. Eisenman, Deborah Glik, Richard Maranon, Qiong Zhow, Chi-Hong Tseng and Steven M. Asch, all of UCLA, and Lupe Gonzalez of the Coalition for Community Health in Los Angeles.

Funding was provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. The original article was written by Enrique Rivero. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Informal social networks better at encouraging Hispanics to prepare for disasters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217094903.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2009, December 17). Informal social networks better at encouraging Hispanics to prepare for disasters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217094903.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Informal social networks better at encouraging Hispanics to prepare for disasters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217094903.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

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