Health-Related Communication Behaviors of Environmental Action Gatekeepers: A Qualitative Study
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The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore behaviors of community members regarding environmental health information. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with environmental action gatekeepers from Prince George’s County, Maryland and Wards 7 and 8 of the District of Columbia to identify health-related communication behaviors and how they make meaning of those behaviors. Participants engaged in a range of behaviors to acquire, manage, and transmit information related to local environmental health issues. Although different behavior patterns did not emerge among activists versus advocates, a number of factors including perceived community constraints and informational subjective norms were identified as potential influences on communication behaviors. These findings support existing theoretical models, and suggest future research on how communicative behaviors among environmental health and environmental justice advocates may differ from those working on traditional ecological environmental issues. Findings suggest future opportunities to improve environmental health information sufficiency in the region.