The Role of Self-Efficacy in Communication and Emergency Response in Chinese Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Populations

Mei Po Yip, Brandon N. Ong, Hendrika W. Meischke, Sherry X. Feng, Rebecca Calhoun, Ian Painter, Shin-Ping Tu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background. Failure to engage in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery contributes to the differential outcome experienced by limited English proficiency (LEP) populations. Little is known about how psychosocial factors influence LEP individuals' perception of emergency and their process of understanding, collecting, and synthesizing information. The purpose of this exploratory study is to understand how LEP conceptualize an emergency situation to determine when help is needed. Methods. The authors conducted 4 focus groups with 36 adult Chinese LEP speakers living in Seattle. All discussions were audio-taped, translated, and transcribed. Coded text passages were entered into Atlas.ti for data management and model generation. Results. Perception of an emergency situation affects LEP individual's ability to manage the crisis. Self-efficacy may be an important psychological variable that positively shapes an individual's response to an emergency situation by improving their confidence to handle the crisis and ability to connect to resources. Response to emergency resulting from this series of information gathering, synthesis, and utilization may not always result in a positive outcome. Discussion. Self-efficacy in risk communication messages should be included to engage LEPs in emergency preparedness. Effective communication can increase LEPs' awareness of emergency situations and connecting LEP individuals with existing community resources may enhance LEPs' level of self-efficacy in emergencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-407
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • communication
  • emergency
  • LEP
  • limited English proficiency
  • self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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