eCite Digital Repository

Risk interpretation and action: a conceptual framework for responses to natural hazards


Eiser, JR and Bostrom, A and Burton, I and Johnston, DM and McClure, J and Paton, D and van der Pligt, J and White, MP, Risk interpretation and action: a conceptual framework for responses to natural hazards, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 1, (1) pp. 5-16. ISSN 2212-4209 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2012.05.002


Understanding how people interpret risks and choose actions based on their interpretations is vital to any strategy for disaster reduction. We review relevant literature with the aim of developing a conceptual framework to guide future research in this area. We stress that risks in the context of natural hazards always involve interactions between natural (physical) and human (behavioural) factors. Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty is inadequately described by traditional models of 'rational choice'. Instead, attention needs to be paid to how people's interpretations of risks are shaped by their own experience, personal feelings and values, cultural beliefs and interpersonal and societal dynamics. Furthermore, access to information and capacity for self-protection are typically distributed unevenly within populations. Hence trust is a critical moderator of the effectiveness of any policy for risk communication and public engagement.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Risk, Hazard, Interpretation, Decision, Trust
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Social and personality psychology
Research Field:Social psychology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Natural hazards
Objective Field:Natural hazards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Paton, D (Professor Douglas Paton)
ID Code:83134
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:299
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2013-03-01
Last Modified:2013-05-16

Repository Staff Only: item control page