The multiple risk factors study hopes to understand more about the degree to which the poor across the South believe they are susceptible to multiple health risks, have adopted health protective behaviors to respond to these risks, and have chosen to respond to some risks and not others. This study examines the nature of information seeking the poor engage in when responding to health risks and explores the commonalities and differences in risk responses between low-income African and White Americans in the South.
The first phase of this research utilizes focus groups segmented by race and gender conducted in three southern cities. The focus group data will be used to develop questions for the second phase of research which will be a targeted random-digit dial survey of 500 households in five states (AL, GA, LA, MS, and SC) with telephones within zip codes at a $35,000 or lower income level. The survey will focus on participant perception of risk severity and susceptibility, behavioral control, social influence, and risk communication processing. The information gathered from this phone survey will be useful in designing relevant and culturally appropriate risk messages to the poor and near poor living in the South. Additionally, to assist the team in understanding more about how individuals respond to and make decisions about health risks, we have also undertaken a content analysis of formative CDC and NIH research reports.