Perceived Preparedness And Preparedness Behavior For Terrorism And Natural Disasters Among Low-Income African Americans In Maryland
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DepartmentPublic Health and Policy
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Marginalized groups, the poor, and minorities suffer disproportionately by disasters where inequities are more evident during the response and recovery stages. Although there are differences in disaster preparation behaviors between majority and minority ethnic populations, minority populations experience the inequities because of low incomes and other limited resources needed to lessen the impact of a disaster. Furthermore, scientific knowledge about differences in disaster preparedness behavior within racial/ethnic groups is limited. To address the limitation, this study was conducted among a sub-sample of 219 low-income African Americans in four communities in Maryland to examine the association between perceived preparedness and preparedness behaviors (having a family emergency plan [FEP] and having survival kit items [SKI]) in preparation for natural disasters and terrorism. Internet access and social support were examined to determine if they caused the association between perceived preparedness and preparedness behavior to vary. Secondary data collected by Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy, 2006 Special Population Public Health Emergency Preparedness Initiative were analyzed in 2008. Adults aged > 18 completed surveys between July 31 and August 30, 2006. A statistically significant independent association between perceived preparedness and having an FEP emerged in the analysis. After adjusting for age, gender, education, employment, and Internet access, participants who perceived they were prepared were 5.8 times more likely to have an FEP (AOR = 5.8, 95% CI = 2.9-11.6). Internet access and social support did not modify the association between perceived preparedness and having an FEP. An association between perceived preparedness and having more SKI was observed. After adjustment for age and education, participants who were prepared were 6.5 times more likely to have more SKI than those who were unprepared (AOR = 6.5, 95% CI = 3.5-12.2). However, Internet access modified the association between perceived preparedness and having more SKI (AOR = 5.0, 95% CI = 2.9-8.8). Social support did not modify the association. The results from this study may be used to develop educational preparedness programs or to design appropriate interventions for the target population.