Using an Inoculation Message Approach to Promote Public Confidence in Protective Agencies

Published in: Journal Of Applied Communication Research,Volume 44, Number 4 (2016), Pages 381-398. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2016.1225165

Posted on RAND.org on July 03, 2019

by Bobi Ivanov, William J. Burns, Timothy L. Sellnow, Elizabeth L. Petrun Sayers, Shari R. Veil, Marcus W. Mayorga

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This investigation tested the effectiveness of inoculation as a pre-crisis strategy in combating the effects of politically motivated violent acts. A four-phase experiment was conducted involving 355 national consumer panel participants. The findings indicate that inoculation can be an effective pre-crisis message strategy as it was successful in enhancing public beliefs in the ability of government agencies to prevent, and minimize the effects of, violent acts. This strategy also created a 'blanket of protection' that extended beyond the focal politically motivated attack event as it enhanced the confidence in government agencies to manage national crises in general. Inoculation was also effective in lowering the intensity of experienced fear evoked by the threat of violent attacks and it enhanced the ability of individuals to cope with the aftermath of a crisis.

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