Understanding the culture of natural disaster preparedness: exploring the effect of experience and sociodemographic predictors

Javiera V. Castañeda, Nicolás C. Bronfman, Pamela C. Cisternas, Paula B. Repetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the culture of preparedness is essential to improve public policies and programs aimed to promote population preparedness to cope with natural hazards. The present study seeks to explore the influence of experience and sociodemographic variables in different levels of natural disaster preparedness among inhabitants of the Chilean coast. Three domains of preparedness were studied: household, community, and work. Participants were 1504 adults interviewed from representative samples of the coastal cities of Iquique and Concepción. Our main results suggest that direct prior experience and higher frequency of exposure to earthquakes and tsunamis generate a highest level of preparedness. In the same way, middle-aged adults (30–59 years), who live with a partner and those who have higher education and income level, declare having the highest levels of preparedness. On the other hand, our results denote that for each domain of preparedness, different sociodemographic characteristics influence the level of preparedness. Years living in the city and living with a partner represents the most decisive variable for preparedness at the household unit level. As for community preparedness, gender emerges as the most relevant variable. Educational level and income are variables with the greatest impact in workplace preparedness. These results demonstrate the importance of studying and implementing preparedness activities in other contexts such as community and work. Also, strategies should focus on less prepared groups that may be more vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1881-1904
Number of pages24
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020


  • Disaster preparedness
  • Experience
  • Natural hazards
  • Sociodemographic variables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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