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The effect of social trust on citizens’ health risk perception in the context of a petrochemical industrial complex

International journal of environmental research and public health | 23 Jan 2013

MA López-Navarro, J Llorens-Monzonís and V Tortosa-Edo
Perceived risk of environmental threats often translates into psychological stress with a wide range of effects on health and well-being. Petrochemical industrial complexes constitute one of the sites that can cause considerable pollution and health problems. The uncertainty around emissions results in a perception of risk for citizens residing in neighboring areas, which translates into anxiety and physiological stress. In this context, social trust is a key factor in managing the perceived risk. In the case of industrial risks, it is essential to distinguish between trust in the companies that make up the industry, and trust in public institutions. In the context of a petrochemical industrial complex located in the port of Castellón (Spain), this paper primarily discusses how trust - both in the companies located in the petrochemical complex and in the public institutions - affects citizens' health risk perception. The research findings confirm that while the trust in companies negatively affects citizens' health risk perception, trust in public institutions does not exert a direct and significant effect. Analysis also revealed that trust in public institutions and health risk perception are essentially linked indirectly (through trust in companies).
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Stress, Psychology, Sociology, Occupational health psychology, Cultural Theory of risk, Risk perception, Anxiety, Risk
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