A Pilot Study on Perceptions of Environmental Health Risk in Kootenai County, Idaho

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Health Science

Major Advisor

Gary Shook, Sc.D.


Les Alm, Ph.D.


Sarah Toevs, Ph.D.


The population of Kootenai County increased 55.7% between 1990 and 2000. Population growth and industry expansion may create overall threats to the environmental health of this area. The purpose of this research was to investigate public perceptions of environmental health risk in Kootenai County through the use of a survey instrument. The sample consisted of 1000 randomly selected Kootenai County registered voters. A response rate of 35% was achieved. Overall, the results indicated a generalized perception of concern for the environment in Kootenai County, recognition that improvements to the environment are needed, and desire to keep the environment as healthy as possible. In addition, statistically significant differences among gender (p =.001), income level (p = .002), residency within designated city limits (p = .030), and length of residency with Kootenai County (p = .047) indicated that demographic variables were highly influential on the perceptions of this sample. The results of this research may aid local environmental agencies in developing, implementing, and enforcing regulations that will protect the environment in Kootenai County. In addition, understanding the perceptions of citizens within the community may help government officials understand the potential community reaction to impending risk, while also aiding in effective risk communication.

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