There is currently considerable community concern regarding the possibility that mobile telecommunication technology, such as mobile phones and base stations, may cause health problems. While science has so far been unable to identify any such health effects, it has also been unable to unequivocally demonstrate that there are no heath effects. As a result, precautionary measures have been proposed to reduce the potential for such risks. However, the consequences of such precautionary measures are yet to be determined, with some research in Western European countries indicating that precautionary measures may in fact increase the degree to which people feel threatened by mobile telecommunications technology.
To determine whether this effect holds true within an Australian sample (N=400), a 5 x 2 x 2 between-subjects experimental design was employed within Australian university populations, where the independent variables were (1) type of precautionary measure, (2) technology (cell phones, base stations), (3) order of presentation of cell phone vs. base station related items. Respondents rated their perceived risks, trust in risk management, and benefit perceptions, and in addition reported their cell phone usage patterns. Data are currently being analysed and will be presented.