An Evaluation of the Literacy Demands of Online Natural Disaster Preparedness Materials for Families
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An Evaluation of the Literacy Demands of Online Natural Disaster Preparedness Materials for Families

Filetype[PDF-116.47 KB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Disaster Med Public Health Prep
    • Description:

      Natural disasters are becoming increasingly common, but it is unclear whether families can comprehend and use available resources to prepare for such emergencies. The objective of this study was to evaluate the literacy demands of risk communication materials on natural disasters for U.S. families with children.


      In January 2018, we assessed 386 online self-directed learning resources related to emergency preparedness for natural disasters using five literacy assessment tools. Assessment scores were compared by information source, audience type, and disaster type.


      One-in-three websites represented government institutions, and three-quarters were written for a general audience. Nearly one-in-five websites did not specify a disaster type. Assessment scores suggest a mismatch between the general population’s literacy levels and literacy demands of materials in the areas of readability, complexity, suitability, web usability, and overall audience-appropriateness. Materials required more years of education beyond the grade level recommended by prominent health organizations. Resources for caregivers of children generally and children with special health care needs possessed lower literacy demands than materials overall, for most assessment tools.


      Risk communication and public health agencies could better align the literacy demands of emergency preparedness materials with the literacy capabilities of the general public.

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