Health beliefs and behaviors in the Silver Valley of Northern Idaho
Image Credit: City of Kellogg, ID
Image Credit: Courtney Cooper
Summary Toxic metal contamination poses public health risks in many mining-impacted communities. Improved understanding of risk perception and health protective behaviors is important to sustaining public health awareness. We co-developed a research study based on the Health Belief Model (HBM; Figure 1) and facilitated through a partnership with the Panhandle Health District in our study area, the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. Lead contamination in the Valley was caused by historical mining practices, and distributed through waterways and dust. Contamination continues to impact both ecological and human health and contributes to health disparities. For this study, we assess how health belief constructs (i.e., perceived threats, expectations of behavioral outcomes, and confidence in personal knowledge) influence self-reported health-protective behaviors and behavioral intentions.
Record self-reported health-protective behaviors
Apply the Health Belief Model to investigate factors that influence motivation to take health-protective behaviors
Improve the health district’s risk communication strategy.
Project Significance While environmental clean-up efforts and regulations have alleviated some concerns from toxic metal contamination, the efforts have also made the underlying public health threat less visible. A continued focus on education and outreach related to avoiding contamination is needed.