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Fighting fire with psychology: do fire prevention interventions apply theories of behavior change?

Scheithauer, Martin (2012) Fighting fire with psychology: do fire prevention interventions apply theories of behavior change?

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Abstract:2 Abstract Fire can pose a serious threat for life. Therefore, fire departments and prevention practitioners try to persuade the population to save their own lives by taking preventive steps. But how do they do that? Method: A review of the existing literature was undertaken. Specifically, electronic data bases were searched for interventions aimed at the prevention of fire and related injuries. To give an answer on the methods used by interventions, fifteen studies were retrieved that described an intervention program, its program parts and evaluated results. They were analyzed according to their theoretical fundament and methods of persuasion to give a broad picture of the fusion of practice and theory. Theories such as the Protection Motivation Theory and the Extended Parallel Processing Model provided the specific way of looking at and analyzing the interventions. Results: Only two interventions used theories of behavior change as the architecture of intervention design and as evaluation concepts and measures. One used a combination of prevailing theories from health psychology and another was built on the Extended Parallel Processing Model. The remaining studies had no explicit reference to theories and methods of changing behavior. However, several concepts of the Protection Motivation Theory were found implicitly in all interventions; Severity and Vulnerability was most often covered by telling the causes, consequences and impacts of fire. Response costs were mostly decreased by giving-away free safety devices such as fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and safety kits. Efficacy beliefs were increased by teaching behavioral skills, such as the maintenance of smoke alarms or the teaching of appropriate escaping behavior to children by means of virtual environments.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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