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.
- natural hazards preparedness
- risk perception
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Physiology (medical)