The Socioeconomic Context of Exposure and Response to Environmental Risk

Vaughan, E. (1995). The socioeconomic context of exposure and response to environmental risk. Environment and Behavior, 27, 4, 454-489.

Examined the association between socioeconomic factors and the risk responses of 437 Mexican immigrant farmworkers (MIFs) chronically exposed to agricultural pesticides. MIFs from a variety of occupational contexts participated and were expected to systematically differ in their response to pesticide exposure depending on socioeconomic circumstances, judgments about the risk situation, and the subjective evaluation of occupational conditions. Analyses revealed that beliefs about the risks of pesticides were not randomly distributed throughout this sample, but varied with socioeconomic factors. For example, MIFs who were in more limited economic circumstances judged future health effects to be more likely and believed that safety precautions were less effective. Additionally, socioeconomic circumstances modified the relationship between intraindividual factors and response to risk.

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