Operationalizing risk perception and preparedness behavior research for a multi-hazard context

Cheney Shreve, Chloe Begg, Maureen Fordham, Annemarie Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


Increasingly, citizens are being asked to take a more active role in disaster risk reduction (DRR), as decentralization of hazard governance has shifted greater responsibility for hazard preparedness actions onto individuals. Simultaneously, the taxonomy of hazards considered for DRR has expanded to include medical and social crises alongside natural hazards. Risk perception research emerged to support decision-makers with understanding how people characterize and evaluate different hazards to anticipate behavioral response and guide risk communication. Since its inception, the risk perception concept has been incorporated into many behavioral theories, which have been applied to examine preparedness for numerous hazard types. Behavioral theories have had moderate success in predicting or explaining preparedness behaviors; however, they are typically applied to a single hazard type and there is a gap in understanding which theories (if any) are suited for examining multiple hazard types simultaneously. This paper first reviews meta-analyses of behavioral theories to better understand performance. Universal lessons learnt are summarized for survey design. Second, theoretically based preparedness studies for floods, earthquakes, epidemics, and terrorism are reviewed to assess the conceptual requirements for a ‘multi-hazard’ preparedness approach. The development of an online preparedness self-assessment and learning platform is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-245
JournalEnvironmental Hazards
Issue number3
Early online date5 May 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 May 2016


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