Mary H Hayden
Peter D Howe
University Corporation For Atmospheric Res
Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)
Responding to extreme heat conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic could place many vulnerable populations at further risk during the warm summer months when many people leave their houses to escape the heat and visit cooling centers and other public spaces. People’s vulnerability is likely to vary over time and space, shifting with the extent of exposure to extreme heat, differences in policy and community response, and disease pressure from COVID-19. By assessing experiences, risk perceptions, behaviors, and perceived ability to respond to these conditions, the investigators will improve the understanding of how people cope with and adapt to multiple evolving hazards. The project will contribute to broader efforts to understand and reduce population health risks from extreme weather events during a global pandemic. The project’s findings will be broadly disseminated to researchers, public health and emergency management practitioners, and the public. This project brings together theory and methods from geography and behavioral sciences to develop new knowledge about the interactions among people, their environment, and multiple evolving hazards. This research will build on existing theoretical foundations and empirical knowledge and will examine how extreme weather conditions, COVID-19, local policies, and environmental and socio-demographic characteristics affect the public’s risk perceptions, behaviors, and ability to take protective measures. The investigators will conduct a series of georeferenced nationally representative surveys combined with spatially explicit modeling with questions about COVID-19 and extreme heat risk perceptions and experiences, self-reported symptoms of heat stress and COVID-19, household coping capacity, self-efficacy, and protective behaviors undertaken to reduce vulnerability. The project findings will inform risk communication and public health intervention strategies aimed at reducing extreme heat and COVID-19-related impacts that can be generalized for other multi-hazard events.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.