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"We Think Nothing Like This Can Happen Here": Reception, Perception and Response to Risk Communication Among Refugees and Immigrants in Sweden

Hollanti, Linn LU (2019) VBRM15 20191
Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety
Abstract
Risk communication is recognised as an essential component of crisis preparedness, enabling people at risk to take informed decisions to protect themselves. Research has shown that foreign-born people including refugees and immigrants to a lesser extent than others are reached by the information and are less prepared for crisis, making them particularly vulnerable in crisis situations. Employing a receiver-perspective and using the Swedish risk communication leaflet If Crisis or War Comes as a case study, this research investigates reception, perception and response to risk communication among a group of refugees and immigrants in Sweden. Informed by semi-structured interviews with the refugees and immigrants, the findings show that the... (More)
Risk communication is recognised as an essential component of crisis preparedness, enabling people at risk to take informed decisions to protect themselves. Research has shown that foreign-born people including refugees and immigrants to a lesser extent than others are reached by the information and are less prepared for crisis, making them particularly vulnerable in crisis situations. Employing a receiver-perspective and using the Swedish risk communication leaflet If Crisis or War Comes as a case study, this research investigates reception, perception and response to risk communication among a group of refugees and immigrants in Sweden. Informed by semi-structured interviews with the refugees and immigrants, the findings show that the leaflet was received and read by most of them, and the information perceived as relevant and important. The increased information did however not lead to the taking of any additional preparedness measures, confirming to the insight that information only is not enough to encourage protective action. Risk perception, reliance and dependency on authorities, unrealistic optimism and lack of storage space were identified as the main hindrances to preparedness, whereas limited Swedish language skills posed a barrier to comprehend the information. It is argued that further analysis of obstacles to preparedness, and ways to overcome the challenges, is needed for increasing the effectiveness of risk communication, to help ensure no one is left behind in preparing for crisis. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Risk communication is one of the tools used by governments and emergency agencies to increase citizen preparedness, providing information so that people more effectively can respond and cope with the impacts of a crisis. This is also the case in Sweden where the government in May 2018 issued the “If Crisis or War Comes” leaflet to all Swedish households. Previous research has however found differences in outreach and impact of risk communication among population groups. Refugees and immigrants are an example of this, forming a group that to a lesser extent than native-born people are reached by the information, and are less prepared for crisis.

To help ensure that risk communication reaches its intended audience, this thesis... (More)
Risk communication is one of the tools used by governments and emergency agencies to increase citizen preparedness, providing information so that people more effectively can respond and cope with the impacts of a crisis. This is also the case in Sweden where the government in May 2018 issued the “If Crisis or War Comes” leaflet to all Swedish households. Previous research has however found differences in outreach and impact of risk communication among population groups. Refugees and immigrants are an example of this, forming a group that to a lesser extent than native-born people are reached by the information, and are less prepared for crisis.

To help ensure that risk communication reaches its intended audience, this thesis investigates to what degree a group of refugees and immigrants in Sweden have received and read the If Crisis or War Comes leaflet, and the factors influencing this. Further, the thesis explores the refugees and immigrants’ perception of the information, and whether it has contributed to increasing their crisis preparedness.

Starting with a review of existing literature on the concepts of risk communication and crisis preparedness, factors influencing reception, perception and response to risk communication are identified. Primary data is then collected through semi-structured interviews with refugees and immigrants in the Malmö area, south Sweden.

The results of the study show that nearly all of the refugees and immigrants received and read the If Crisis or War Comes leaflet, even though language barriers posed a challenge to interpret the information. The leaflet was furthermore perceived as important by most, with high trust in Swedish authorities being a contributing factor. Despite leading to increased risk awareness, the information did not cause any of the refugees or immigrants to take additional preparedness measures. Reasons for not preparing for crisis include low perception of Sweden being struck by a crisis, lack of storage space for emergency supplies, reliance on authorities to handle an eventual crisis situation, and view of oneself as already capable of handling a crisis, partly derived from past experience. To increase the effectiveness of risk communication as a tool to enhance crisis preparedness, further research on factors hampering but also enabling action-taking is needed. (Less)
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author
Hollanti, Linn LU
supervisor
organization
course
VBRM15 20191
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Risk Communication, Crisis Preparedness, Refugees, Immigrants, If Crisis or War Comes, Om krisen eller kriget kommer, Sweden
language
English
id
8997867
date added to LUP
2019-11-22 12:47:45
date last changed
2019-11-22 12:47:45
@misc{8997867,
  abstract     = {Risk communication is recognised as an essential component of crisis preparedness, enabling people at risk to take informed decisions to protect themselves. Research has shown that foreign-born people including refugees and immigrants to a lesser extent than others are reached by the information and are less prepared for crisis, making them particularly vulnerable in crisis situations. Employing a receiver-perspective and using the Swedish risk communication leaflet If Crisis or War Comes as a case study, this research investigates reception, perception and response to risk communication among a group of refugees and immigrants in Sweden. Informed by semi-structured interviews with the refugees and immigrants, the findings show that the leaflet was received and read by most of them, and the information perceived as relevant and important. The increased information did however not lead to the taking of any additional preparedness measures, confirming to the insight that information only is not enough to encourage protective action. Risk perception, reliance and dependency on authorities, unrealistic optimism and lack of storage space were identified as the main hindrances to preparedness, whereas limited Swedish language skills posed a barrier to comprehend the information. It is argued that further analysis of obstacles to preparedness, and ways to overcome the challenges, is needed for increasing the effectiveness of risk communication, to help ensure no one is left behind in preparing for crisis.},
  author       = {Hollanti, Linn},
  keyword      = {Risk Communication,Crisis Preparedness,Refugees,Immigrants,If Crisis or War Comes,Om krisen eller kriget kommer,Sweden},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {"We Think Nothing Like This Can Happen Here": Reception, Perception and Response to Risk Communication Among Refugees and Immigrants in Sweden},
  year         = {2019},
}