Surveying public opinion on the growing threat of biological terrorism

The number of anthrax incidents and infections that occurred in October 2001 emphasize the need for public health authorities to understand better the attitudes and behavior of the public in times of crisis. There is a clear need to get a baseline of information on the levels of public anxiety, knowledge about a range of threats, current behavior in response, and views of what public health authorities are doing and should be doing to protect them in the future. This grant supports a series of surveys of the public to examine their knowledge of and fears and worries about biological and chemical terrorism, with particular attention to anthrax and smallpox. An additional aim of this project is to ask questions that would provide a benchmark, probing on issues that may emerge as other aspects of the current situation unfold. The deliverables for this project are: (1) a 20-minute national baseline study (n=1,000); (2) two 10-minute studies in three regions of the U.S. (each n=1,500); and (3) six 5-minute, follow-up omnibus surveys (n=6000 total). As part of this project, the Harvard University School of Public Health will archive media polls on this topic and provide summaries of the information. The research will be conducted in collaboration with the Harvard University School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $245,000.00

Awarded on: 12/5/2001

Time frame: 12/1/2001 - 12/31/2002

Grant Number: 44111


International Communications Research, Inc.

53 West Baltimore Pike
Media, 19063-5698


Melissa J. Herrmann
Project Director