If It Is Meant to Be, Let It Be: Risk communication among Bosnian Refugees Resettled in the U.S.

H. Xin, A. Karamehic-Muratovic, D. Cluphf


The purpose of this paper is to explore and understand how a Bosnian refugee community perceives and responds to the potential risk of a natural disaster in order to identify tailored approaches to improve risk communication. This is a qualitative study. Participants resettled in St Louis, Missouri were identified through criterion and snowball sampling. Thirty-three face-to-face interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. Data were analyzed using both content and thematic analysis. Findings indicate that due to their war experiences, cultural and religious understanding of natural disaster, and social influence on their risk interpretation, participants tended to underestimate the potential threat of natural disaster. Media was the main communication methods in times of potential natural disaster. Lack of organizational support during risk communication was a major concern. Ethnic radio stations and word of mouth were rated as the most popular communication channels for disseminating messages in preparation of a natural disaster. Using a community-based participatory approach to identify community needs and involve Bosnian community partners in risk communication planning, implementation, and evaluation, is vital for a Bosnian community.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/hcs.2015.185


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