Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 April 2019
Communicating about health risks in the Arctic can be challenging. Numerous factors can hinder or promote effective communication. One of the most important components in effective communication is trust in an information source. This is particularly true when a risk is unfamiliar or complex because the public must rely on expert assessment rather than personal evaluation of the risk. A total of 112 Inuit residents from Nunavik, Canada, were interviewed to better understand the factors that influence trust in individuals or organisations. Results indicate that there are six primary factors that influence trust in an information source. These factors include: (1) whether the information source is a friend or family member; (2) past performance of the individual or organisation; (3) the general disposition of the audience member (that is, he or she believes that most people are trustworthy); (4) the openness or candidness of the source; (5) value similarity (referring to the perceived correspondence in values between the audience member and communicator); and (6) the credibility of the source. The results of this study can help determine who or what agencies should provide messages about health risks in the Arctic. It also provides insight about effective strategies for engendering trust among Arctic residents.
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