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Theme 4: Project 6 - Adherence to preventative recommendations during public health emergencies (Air pollution)

During many public health crises, members of the public are advised to follow official recommendations to prevent them from becoming ill. Adherence to these health risk communications, which can also involve advice to use preventative medications, is often poor. In particular, adherence to air quality advice to modify behaviours during pollution episodes may be suboptimal, and that the traditional strategy of simply informing people about high pollution episodes may not be effective. The aim of this project is to improve the behavioural impact of air quality alerts. The first stage will involve a literature review of the factors associated with adherence and non-adherence to behavioural recommendations of air quality alerts. The results will inform the following stages of the project. In particular, using the COM-B model to understand and modify adherence behaviours, specific communication strategies will be developed, and after being piloted using vignette-methods, will be tested with the users of an existing air alert App developed by the KCL ERG group. Implications of this study include the potential to reduce the health burden of air pollution, through the development of more effective communication strategies provided via existent air quality alert systems.

This project is led and primarily resourced by the Emergency Preparedness and Response HPRU who have expertise on the psychology of behavioural responses.  Theme IV is contributing the air pollution expertise.

Lead researchers

Dr Heather Walton

Theme 4 Leader: Health effects of noise and air pollution including nanoparticles

King's College London