1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Risk, Crisis, and Disaster Communication

Edited By Brooke Fisher Liu, Amisha M. Mehta Copyright 2024
    424 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of core concepts, research, and practice in risk, crisis, and disaster communication.

    With contributions from leading academic experts and practitioners from diverse disciplinary backgrounds including communication, disaster, and health, this Handbook offers a valuable synthesis of current knowledge and future directions for the field. It is divided into four parts. Part One begins with an introduction to foundational theories and pedagogies for risk and crisis communication. Part Two elucidates knowledge and gaps in communicating about climate and weather, focusing on community and corporate positions and considering text and visual communication with examples from the US and Australia. Part Three provides insights on communicating ongoing and novel risks, crises, and disasters from US and European perspectives, which cover how to define new risks and translate theories and methodologies so that their study can support important ongoing research and practice. Part Four delves into communicating with diverse publics and audiences with authors examining community, first responder, and employee perspectives within developed and developing countries to enhance our understanding and inspire ongoing research that is contextual, nuanced, and impactful. Offering innovative insights into ongoing and new topics, this handbook explores how the field of risk, crisis, and disaster communications can benefit from theory, technology, and practice.

    It will be of interest to students, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of disaster, emergency management, communication, geography, public policy, sociology, and other related interdisciplinary fields.

    Handbook Introduction: Laying the Foundation for Risk, Crisis, and Disaster Communication Research and Practice

    Brooke Fisher Liu and Amisha Mehta

    Part I: Foundations

    Section I Introduction

    Brooke Fisher Liu and Amisha Mehta

    1. Theories of Crisis Communication

    Sora Kim, Emma K. Bishop, and Charles Yu Yang

    2. Expanding Theories of Risk and Disaster Communication: Integrating Instructional Communication

    Timothy L. Sellnow and Deanna D. Sellnow

    3. The “Gray” in Discerning Right from Wrong: Navigating Ethical Obligations Through Relativism in Crisis and Disaster Communication

    Olivia Truban, Victoria McDermott, and Matthew W. Seeger

    4. Teaching Crisis Communication: History, Traditions, and Future Opportunities

    Olivia Truban and Brooke Fisher Liu

    5. Best Practices in Crisis and Disaster Communication

    Matthew W. Seeger and Andreas Schwarz

    Part II: Communicating About Climate and Weather

    Section II Introduction

    Amisha Mehta and Brooke Fisher Liu

    6. Building and Maintaining Relationships that Protect Communities: The Importance of Relationships within the Weather Enterprise

    Anita Atwell Seate

    7. Examining the Role of Corporate Climate Change Communications

    Rosalynn A. Vasquez

    8. Visual Design as a Facilitator of Risk Observance: Optimizing Message Reception and Memorability for Increased Public Engagement

    Amitabh Verma, Yan Jin, and Brooke Fisher Liu

    9. Alerts and Warnings in Emergency Communication

    Erica D. Kuligowski, Jeannette Sutton, Michele Olson, and Lauren B. Cain

    10. Community Disaster Resilience and Communication: Models, Existing Research, and Next  Steps


    Lindsey P. Vázquez, Ernest A. Eshun, and J. Brian Houston


    11. Communicating About Weather in Australia: Leveraging Intersections Between Emergency Operations and the Frontline to Guide Future Practice

    Kath Ryan, Major General Jake Ellwood, and Amisha Mehta

    Part III: Communicating About Ongoing and Novel Risks, Crises, and Disasters

    Section III Introduction

    Amisha Mehta and Brooke Fisher Liu

    12. Ripples, Waves, and Riptides: Reconceptualizing Wicked, Novel, and Ongoing Crises as Prolonged Crises


    Audra Diers-Lawson and Grace Omondi

    13. Organizations and the Crisis of Trust: The Challenges and Opportunities of Declining Institutional and Informational Trust

    Toni G. L. A. van der Meer, Yan Jin, Anna Brosius, Victoria Marie McDermott, Xuerong Lu, and Amisha Mehta

    14. Advancing Methodologies for Hurricane Disaster Research Using Social Media Data

    Emina Herovic, Caerwyn Hartten, Emily Walpole, Katherine Johnson, Cameron Busser, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology

    15. Longitudinal Studies of Risk Perceptions and Behavioral Responses for Natural Hazards

    Julie L. Demuth, Rebecca E. Morss, Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, Andrea Schumacher, Hugh Walpole, and Natalie Herbert

    16. From a Characteristic to a Construct: Exploring the Cascading Effects of (In)Consistent Messages

    Castle Williamsberg and Gina Eosco

    17. When Rumors Take Hold in Crisis Communication: Statements by Politicians and Authorities during Crises

    Henrik Olinder

    Part IV: Communicating with Diverse Publics and Audiences

    Section IV Introduction

    Brooke Fisher Liu and Amisha Mehta

    18. Health Literacy and Community Engagement Insights Applied to Public Health Emergencies Can Ensure Equitable, Useful Information for Protective Actions 

    Cynthia Baur and Christine E. Prue

    19. Integrating Mental Health in Disaster Communication Theory and Practice

    J. Suzanne Horsley and Daphne S. Cain

    20. Internal Communication

    An-Sofie Claeys and Ellen Soens

    21. Why and How We Trust: A Systematic Review of the Role Played by Trust in Crisis, Risk, and Disaster Communication Studies in Eastern and Western Cultures

    Yi-Hui Christine Huang, Jie Sun, Ruoheng Liu, Qinxian Cai, Haodong Liu, and Leyi Zhang

    22. Praxis, Opportunities, and Recommendations: Reflecting on Political Crisis Communication in Africa

    Nana Kwame Osei Fordjour, Godwin Etse Sikanku, and Eric Opoku Mensah

    23. Migrant Populations

    Bengt Johansson and James Rhys Edwards

    24. Bridging Research and Practice for Impact: Behavioral Science in Action for Effective Risk, Crisis, and Disaster Communication

    JungKyu Rhys Lim and Jimena Llopis

    Handbook Conclusion: Trajectory of Future Research and Practice in Risk, Crisis, and Disaster Communication


    Amisha Mehta and Brooke Fisher Liu


    Brooke Fisher Liu is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland. Her research investigates how government messages, media, and interpersonal communication can contribute to individual and community resilience from disasters. Dr. Liu’s research has been supported by a variety of US government agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She is the co-founder and former editor of the Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research. Dr. Liu co-founded and co-directs the University of Maryland Pandemic Readiness Initiative.

    Amisha Mehta is a Professor in the School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, Faculty of Business and Law at QUT, Brisbane, Australia. She specializes in risk and crisis communication and trust, applying this expertise in emerging industries and corporate, health, and natural hazard emergencies. Amisha actively works with industry and her research has been translated into national policy. She has received a number of individual, team, and national awards for teaching and research.