Assessment of two behavioural models (HBM and RANAS) for predicting health behaviours in response to environmental threats: Surface water flooding as a source of groundwater contamination and subsequent waterborne infection in the Republic of Ireland
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Extreme weather events (EWEs) are increasing in frequency, posing a greater risk of adverse human health effects. As such, developing sociological and psychological based interventions is paramount to empowering individuals and communities to actively protect their own health. Accordingly, this study compared the efficacy of two established social-cognitive models, namely the Health Beliefs Model (HBM) and Risks-Attitudes-Norms-Abilities-Self-regulation (RANAS) framework, in predicting health behaviours following EWEs. Surface water flooding was used as the exemplar EWE in the current study, due to the increasing incidence of these events in the Republic of Ireland over the past decade. Levels of prior experience with flooding were considered for analyses and comparative tools included a number of variables predicting health behaviours and intervention potential scores (i.e. measure of impact of targeting each model element). Results suggest that the RANAS model provides a robust foundation for designing interventions for any level of experience with an extreme weather event, however, use of the simpler HBM may be more cost-effective among participants unacquainted with an EWE and in relatively infrequent health threat scenarios. Results provide an evidence base for researchers and policymakers to appropriately engage with populations about such threats and successfully promote spatiotemporally appropriate health behaviours in a changing climate.
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