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Crisis behavior: An exploration of theories in concert

Jason B. McConnell, JD, PhD Candidate, Christine Crudo, PhD


Objective: How might prominent existing communication theory better explain behavior in a crisis context, when considered in concert with one another?

Design: This theoretical work highlights the insight to be gained using Situational Crisis Communication Theory and Bandura's notions of self-efficacy to heighten the explanatory power of the Theory of Planned Behavior as applied to communication during times of crisis.

Conclusion: Situational Crisis Communication Theory better explains how past experience with crisis influences the attitudes and social norms of crisis behavior, while Bandura's notion of self-efficacy speaks more directly to the availability of resources as contributing factors to perceived behavioral control in a crisis situation. As such, the incorporation of these well-developed notions into the broader framework of the Theory of Planned Behavior affords greater understanding of the relationship between communication and behavior during a crisis. Further exploration of this theoretical relationship is warranted.


Theory of Planned Behavior, Situational Crisis Communication Theory, crisis behavior self-efficacy, crisis communication, perceived behavioral control

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