During imminent threat crises, such as natural disasters, publics have minutes to decide how to respond after receiving a warning. This study advances understanding of publics’ crisis communicative and noncommunicative behaviors in the context of tornadoes through combining and extending two theories: the social-mediated crisis communication (SMCC) model and the situational theory of problem solving (STOPS). Findings from a survey of Southeast U.S. residents (n = 1,585) indicate that STOPS is internally consistent and accurate at measuring its intended outcomes of communicative action in problem solving. However, the STOPS measures do not have a significant relationship with the desirable outcome for imminent threat crisis communication: individuals following government’s protective action guidance about tornadoes. In comparison, the expanded SMCC model predicts individuals’ self-reported compliance. Finally, variables from the SMCC model and tornado-specific variables were integrated into the STOPS model to explain individuals’ communicative engagement. Implications for theory and public relations practice are discussed.
Liu, Brooke Fisher, Sifan Xu, JungKyu Rhys Lim, and Michael Egnoto. 2019. "How Publics’ Active and Passive Communicative Behaviors Affect their Tornado Responses: An Integration of STOPS and SMCC." Public Relations Review (August). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0363811119300645