Understanding the Relationship Between Direct Experience and Risk Perception of Natural Hazards

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Risk perception has been largely examined in studies that have aimed to explain and predict preparedness behavior in the context of natural hazards. Findings from studies on the relationship between previous experience, preparedness, and risk perception in disaster situations have been inconsistent. Hence, the main goal of this work was to explore the influence of physical and emotional experience on risk perception regarding natural hazards. This study was conducted in a statistically representative sample of the city of Iquique, in northern Chile (n = 701), who completed a survey one month after the occurrence of an earthquake and tsunami (8.2 Mw). The survey assessed the experience and preparation actions of survivors in relation to this event. Using a structural equation model, we examined nine proposed relationships, six of which were significant. The final model had an adequate fit (χ² = 752.23, df = 283, comparative fit index [CFI] = 0.90, root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA] = 0.049). Direct experience showed the greatest influence on risk perception: while direct physical experience (i.e., the physical and material consequences associated with the earthquake) maintained a direct positive effect on risk perception, direct emotional experience (i.e., the fear of experiencing an earthquake) produced an indirect positive effect (through worry). Emotional experience, however, did not directly influence current preparedness and risk perception. Implications for understanding the relationship between risk perception and direct experience are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2057-2070
Number of pages14
JournalRisk Analysis
Volume40
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Experience
  • natural hazards preparedness
  • risk perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)

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