Perceived responder legitimacy and group identification predict cooperation and compliance in a mass decontamination field exercise

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Carter, Holly ; Drury, John ; Amlôt, Richard ; Rubin, G James ; Williams, Richard (2013)

Emergency responders’ failure to communicate effectively during decontamination following a chemical or biological incident has been associated with increased public anxiety and reduced public compliance. In this study we applied the social identity approach to evaluating a field exercise that involved mass decontamination. Questionnaires were collected from 115 volunteers, who participated in the exercise as simulated casualties. Volunteers’ perceptions of effective responder communication predicted increased self-reported compliance with decontamination, mediated by perceived responder legitimacy and identification with other group members. Developing effective communication strategies using a social psychology perspective could improve the way in which incidents are managed.
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