Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How Do Disaster Characteristics Influence Risk Perception?

A paper from the most recent issue of Risk Analysis.

Conclusion 1: the negative associations between the sense of controllability and the perceived impact is high for landslide victims, but not for flood victims.

Explanation: The main concern of the flood victims is the financial loss, which is not easy
to completely reduce through the available mitigation actions. On the other hand, the main concern of the landslide victims is the human casualties, which can be effectively avoided by timely evacuation measures.

Implication: the sense of controllability will remain high only if the type of disaster impact that
concerns people can be effectively prevented by their actions.

Conclusion 2: gender is a good predictor of victims’ attitudes toward natural disasters.

Explanation: Since males are likely to feel that the disaster is less life threatening, there
is less financial loss or sense of dread than in the case of the females. Consequently, males are likely to decide to take less or no mitigation actions compared with their female counterparts.

Implication: we suggest that the risk communication should involve more females, for this may increase the likelihood of household mitigation actions.

Summary: risk perception = f (controllability and possibly impacts determined by types of disaster, gender, past experience)

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