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Preparing for natural hazards: normative and attitudinal influences

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McIvor, D and Paton, D (2007) Preparing for natural hazards: normative and attitudinal influences. Disaster Prevention and Management, 16 (1). pp. 79-88. ISSN 0965-3562

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Abstract

Purpose – This paper seeks to further develop a model of natural hazard preparedness by examining
the role of attitudes to natural hazards and their mitigation and social norms. It aims to examine
whether social-cultural factors influence the decisions people make regarding their relationship with
natural hazards.
Design/methodology/approach – Survey data were collected from 156 residents in Napier,
New Zealand. A cross-sectional design was used. Data were analysed using the AMOS 5 structural
equation modelling program.
Findings – Positive attitudes to hazard mitigation, existing in a social context that advocates
adopting protective behaviours, belief in the effectiveness of personal mitigation (outcome expectancy)
and good problem solving (action coping) skills increase the likelihood of adopting protective
measures for earthquakes. The research identified how attitudes and social norms influence the
perception of hazards and how people make preparedness decisions.
Research limitations/implications – Further research is needed to examine how hazard attitudes
are formed, sustained and organized, as well as how they can be changed to facilitate the sustained
adoption of protective measures. Work also needs to be directed to identifying those with whom
normative comparisons are made and the relative influence of different referents.
Practical implications – The findings argue for a move away from reliance on the passive
presentation of information to people and communities that dominates risk communication. Rather,
strategies for encouraging and sustaining positive discourse about hazards and their mitigation within
a community should be prioritized in future risk communication work.
Originality/value – Provides new insights into the relationship between people and natural hazards
and provides empirical support for the inclusion of attitudes and social norms in risk communication
work. It provides additional support for accommodating the social and cultural context in the
development and delivery of risk communication strategies.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Social norms, Attitudes, Natural disasters, New Zealand
Journal or Publication Title: Disaster Prevention and Management
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing
Page Range: pp. 79-88
ISSN: 0965-3562
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1108/09653560710729839
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 14:31
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:35
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