A pilot study of self-efficacy and household environmental risk reduction
Werrell, Leda Kathryn
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Currently there are numerous environmental hazards that low-income and rural families are exposed to in their households. There are ways to detect and reduce or eliminate these hazards, however members of the household would have to initiate this action. Self-efficacy, defined as "an aspect of self-perception that pertains to one's belief in his or her ability to perform a given task or behavior," is a driving force in initiating this action (Vennes & Thomas, 1997, p. 1947). In this study, self-efficacy was quantified and evaluated from a sample of 33 low-income and rural family members. The participants scored their self-efficacy on a numerical scale of 1-100, 100 representing very confident. This secondary data was utilized from the ERRNIE study conducted by Dr. Wade Hill and Dr. Patricia Butterfield. Self-efficacy for five environmental hazards was evaluated: radon, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), well water, lead and carbon monoxide. General self-efficacy for household environmental risk reduction was also evaluated. Mean and standard deviation were calculated utilizing SPSS version 18 to create descriptive statistics. The highest mean for reported self-efficacy was for ETS (89.2). It is likely that this hazard had the highest mean due to being able to smell and see this hazard. The lowest mean for reported self-efficacy was for radon (66.2). This hazard is on odorless gas that requires special testing to detect. Interventions to decrease radon can be expensive and may be viewed as overwhelming and therefore decrease self-efficacy. The overall mean for all items evaluated was 76.5, showing that there is a need for greater attention on this topic. This could be completed by nurse practitioners and would focus on increasing awareness of these hazards, the possible health consequences of exposure to the hazards, and what interventions are available to decrease or eliminate this exposure.