Trust and risk perception of natural hazards: implications for risk preparedness in Chile

Nicolás C. Bronfman, Pamela C. Cisternas, Esperanza López-Vázquez, Luis A. Cifuentes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


It has been found that both preparedness for disasters and public response are significantly influenced by risk perceptions and trust in authorities and experts. Although Chile is a country with a long history of natural disasters, few studies have evaluated the risk perceptions of natural hazards or the degree of social trust. The aim of this study was to evaluate risk perception in Chile regarding various natural hazards and the degree of trust on authorities and institutions. A survey was conducted in five major cities in Chile during the year 2013 and was completed by a total sum of 2054 participants. We assessed risk perception of nine natural hazards and the level of trust in ten national institutions and authorities. According to declared levels of trust, the institutions and authorities included in this study were categorized into three groups: (1) low trust, which included governmental authorities and institutions; (2) medium trust, formed by institutions with educational and preparation roles; and (3) high trust, formed by institutions and authorities responsible for maintaining public order and conducting rescue and aid operations. Although our results show that earthquakes, tsunamis and wildfires were natural hazards of greatest concern to the national population, they also reflect that there are specific additional concerns in different cities that are coherent with their individual history of natural disasters. Implications for natural disaster risk preparedness are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-327
Number of pages21
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Natural disasters
  • Risk perception
  • Risk preparedness
  • Risk profile
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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