A recent RadoNorm scientific article titled “Measuring societal attitudes and behaviours towards radon indoors: A case study of Slovenia” identifies crucial factors and methods for measuring societal attitudes and behaviours towards radon in surveys. The article is the first one that reports collaborative efforts involving various institutions in the RadoNorm European Radon Behavioural Atlas. Authored by Tanja Perko, Peter Thijssen, David Hevey, Catrinel Turcanu, and Melisa Muric, the article is published in International Journal of Environmental Radioactivity.
Although survey methods are frequently used to assess public awareness on radon’s health risk, radon testing and remediation behaviours, such surveys often lack a robust theoretical and methodological foundations. The authors developed a battery of survey items that pertain to individual, interpersonal, organisational, community, and societal aspects of radon. Using a large‑scale representative population survey of Slovenia, they produced valid and reliable measurement scales for the assessment of socio-psychological theory-driven concepts. They provide empirical evidence that effective communication interventions must go beyond merely raising awareness, knowledge or risk perception.
Tailoring strategies to specific population groups in radon priority areas, the study recommends incorporating emotions, personal stories, successful mitigation cases, and testimonies from individuals affected by lung cancer. Moreover, the research underscores the importance of incorporating positive social norms to inspire more individuals to engage in testing and mitigation measures. Social norms encompass the unwritten rules or standards that guide individuals’ actions and influence their decisions to test and mitigate. By assessing theory-driven socio-psychological concepts through surveys, researchers and policymakers can craft more effective strategies aimed at promoting radon testing and mitigation, ultimately enhancing overall public health.
These results pave the way for more methodologically robust surveys measuring public attitudes towards radon management, promoting a nuanced and effective approach to radon risk communication as part of the Radon Action Plans in EU Member States and provides a practical tool for surveying societal attitudes and behaviours towards radon.