Perceived risk and intentions to practice health protective behaviors in a mining-impacted region

Courtney M. Cooper, Jeff B. Langman, Dilshani Sarathchandra, Chantal A. Vella, Chloe B. Wardropper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Effective risk communication strategies are critical to reducing lead exposure in mining-impacted communities. Understanding the strength of the associations between perceived risk and individuals’ behavioral intentions to protect their health is important for developing these strategies. We conducted a survey within three communities of northern Idaho, USA (n = 306) in or near a Superfund Megasite with legacy mining contamination. Survey data were used to test a theoretical model based on the Health Belief Model. Respondents had higher intentions to practice health protective behaviors when they perceived the risk of lead contamination as severe and recognized the benefits of practicing health protective behaviors. Women reported higher behavioral intentions than men, but age and mining affiliation were not significantly associated with behavioral intentions. Although managing lead hazards in communities impacted by mining is challenging due to widely distributed contamination, effective health risk messages, paired with remediation, are powerful tools to protect the health and safety of residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7916
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral intentions
  • Health Belief Model
  • Lead contamination
  • Mining
  • Risk perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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