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Modelling Community Preparation for Natural Hazards: Understanding Hazard Cognitions


McIvor, D and Paton, D and Johnston, D, Modelling Community Preparation for Natural Hazards: Understanding Hazard Cognitions, Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, 3, (2) pp. 39-46. ISSN 1834-4909 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1375/prp.3.2.39


This article examines how personal beliefs about hazard events interact with social context factors to influence how individuals interpret their relationship with their environment, assign meaning to natural hazards and their consequences, and make preparedness decisions. Building on earlier work applying the same theoretical model to volcanic hazard preparedness, this article examines earthquake and flood hazard preparedness. The study incorporates both quantitative and qualitative approaches to elicit more detailed information regarding the influences underlying individuals' decisions to adopt preparation activities to minimise the effects of natural hazards. Findings indicate that preparedness decisions are not made in isolation. Through community level discourse and processes importance is attached to natural hazards and protective measures. It is only when natural hazards are perceived as having greater salience than other threats that people are motivated to prepare for their effects. A major finding is a distinction between trust and distrust of civic authorities. The data suggest that preparedness decisions were strongly influenced by the relevance people attached to information provided by these civic authorities. Delivering hazard mitigation strategies involves engaging with community members in order to understand their needs and to render meaningful assistance to their preparedness decisions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:natural hazards, earthquakes, floods, natural hazard preparation, social construction, community engagement, reasoning processes
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Social and personality psychology
Research Field:Social psychology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:McIvor, D (Mr David McIvor)
UTAS Author:Paton, D (Professor Douglas Paton)
ID Code:60061
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2010-01-08
Last Modified:2015-03-05

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