High Pathogen Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a highly contagious disease threatening United States poultry farms. The aim of this study is to examine the extent to which current instructional risk communication by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meets the expectations of existing literature, particularly the IDEA model. This study examined two documents produced by the USDA for the ongoing threat of HPAI, the Red Book and the Defend the Flock campaign. The aim of the documents is to provide U.S. poultry farmers and the publics with knowledge and information about prevention and response to HPAI. The IDEA model was applied to serve as a framework to analyze how much of each component was present in the messaging. Specifically, the internalization, explanation, and action components were applied to the USDA documents. The documents were coded by two researchers. The researchers, using a codebook, examined the documents and assessed each section (Red Book) or slogan (Defend the Flock) for the presence or absence of three components of the IDEA model: internalization, explanation, and action. When discrepancies arose between the coders, they were resolved through discussion. The results indicated the majority of the Red Book was dedicated to the explanation component of the IDEA model. Conversely, the majority of the Defend the Flock campaign was identified as either internalization or action. The findings in this study can serve as lessons learned to help to improve the effectiveness of instructional risk messaging in similar crises. Specifically, this study recommends that messages be adapted to the intended audience to help them recognize their personal risks, that explanatory messages be intertwined with recommended actions, and that organizations and agencies consider following the USDA's lead and provide complementary materials. For example, some materials may be highly detailed while an accompanying document could provide a simple, brief overview of the risk and recommended actions.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Communication; Mass Communication
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Jones, Jenna, "USDA Instructional Risk Messages for High Pathogen Avian Influenza" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5784.