Rethinking risk perception and its importance for explaining natural hazard preparedness behavior

Scovell, Mitchell, McShane, Connar, Swinbourne, Anne, and Smith, Daniel (2022) Rethinking risk perception and its importance for explaining natural hazard preparedness behavior. Risk Analysis, 42 (3). pp. 450-469.

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Psychological theory suggests there is a positive association between risk perception and protective behavior. Empirical research has, however, found mixed support for the positive link between risk perception and protective behavior. One explanation for the inconsistent link is the way in which risk perception has been conceptualized and/or operationalized in past research. Specifically, few studies acknowledge differences in hazard severity and how it might affect risk perception and protective behavior. Past research has also tended to overlook the importance of emotional appraisal in relation to perceived hazard consequences. To address these inconsistencies in past research, 337 people living in a cyclone-prone location were recruited to participate in an online study. In this study, respondents were randomly presented with one of five hypothetical cyclone scenarios, which differed in objective severity. Respondents were also presented with a survey, which assessed risk perception, protective action perceptions (or coping appraisal), and intentions to perform short-term protective behaviors. As hypothesized, risk perception significantly increased preparedness intentions when controlling for hazard severity, hazard probability, and protective action perceptions. Moreover, the degree to which respondents associated negative emotions with predicted damage was also a relatively strong predictor of preparedness intentions. Overall, the findings support the theoretical link between risk perception and protective behavior and provide a new method of assessing risk perception in cross-sectional research. On a practical level, the results suggest that increasing risk perception should promote protective behavior in response to natural hazards.

Item ID: 68937
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1539-6924
Keywords: Cyclone preparedness; Protection Motivation Theory; Protective Action Decision Model; risk perception
Copyright Information: © 2021 Society for Risk Analysis.
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2021 23:21
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 50%
33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3399 Other built environment and design > 339999 Other built environment and design not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1904 Natural hazards > 190405 Meteorological hazards (e.g. cyclones and storms) @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200406 Health protection and disaster response @ 50%
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