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|Title: ||Health scares: professional priorities|
|Authors: ||Hooker, C|
|Issue Date: ||2011|
|Citation: ||Hooker, C. (2010), ‘Health scares: professional priorities’, Health: An interdisciplinary journal of health and society 14, 1, 3-21|
|Abstract: ||Currently, many health scholars are concerned about health scares. But what do they mean by the term ‘health scare’ – are health scares an identifiable phenomenon, and how do we currently understand their causation and consequences? By collecting and analyzing published articles about events considered to be health scares, this paper maps the current views of scholars on their characteristics and causes. Results show that health scares are generally understood as events characterized by fears of catastrophic consequences but little actual mortality. However, the social and economic impacts of these events have often been severe. This survey shows that health scares can be usefully sorted into 6 categories, each with identifiable internal dynamics, suggesting different communications strategies to achieve resolution in each category. Using the social amplification of risk framework, the conditions under which risk signals were amplified were traced in general terms among major stakeholders. Simple causes for health scare events could not be identified, though some triggers did emerge. Importantly, public ignorance of real risk, media scaremongering, and political inaction could be dismissed as primary explanations, though they were sometimes factors in scare events. Implications for risk communication and for future research on risk and public health are discussed.
Health scare, Social amplification of risk, Expert, Media, Risk controversy|
|Type of Work: ||Article|
|Type of Publication: ||Post-print|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Papers and Publications. Sydney Health Ethics|
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