“Dread factors” refers to the way people worry about risks. These factors are often evaluated in the aftermath of disasters with widespread impacts. Dread factors influence how much people worry about different risks. Risks are perceived to be greater with higher dread when the disasters are more catastrophic and fatal. Dread factors impacts the way people respond to significant events, such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, mad-made disasters, suicide, and other traumatic events.
The Dread Factor project inquires how MPH students’ perceptions of public health threats change over time. The project examines prospective public health professionals’ degree of risk perception and dread regarding disasters of varying scale. By observing how students respond to categories of disasters, there can be drastic changes to how people’s mental health and psychological being is evaluated.