Values and beliefs, as well as the trust in authorities influence perceived nuclear risk and attitudes toward nuclear power.
The relationship between trust in authorities and perceived nuclear risk was addressed in the study that investigated the US citizens' attitudes toward nuclear power (Whitfield et al., 2009). Authors of this study hypothesized that values and beliefs, as well as the trust in authorities influence perceived nuclear risk and attitudes toward nuclear power. For measuring participants' values, the authors used the value-belief-norm theory of movement (VBN), which proposes four different value orientations: Altruistic, Egoistic, Traditional and Openness to change (Stern et al., 1999). This theory argues that people's attitudes towards specific objects are influenced by their basic values, which are products of socialization and experience (Stern et al., 1999). Bearing this in mind, Whitfield and colleagues expected to find significant relations between values as defined in VBN theory and attitudes toward nuclear power (Whitfield et al., 2009). Results of this study showed that lower perceived risk and higher trust in the nuclear industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were significant predictors of positive attitudes toward nuclear power. Regarding values, respondents who held more traditional values (i.e. assigning importance to family, patriotism, and stability) showed greater support for the usage of nuclear energy, while respondents with strong altruistic values showed less support to nuclear power (Whitfield et al., 2009). Respondents with strong traditional values typically show less concern about the environment, which in this study resulted in more positive attitudes toward nuclear energy (Whitfield et al., 2009). On the contrary, respondents with stronger altruistic values typically show greater concern for the well-being of other humans and the environment in general (Stern et al., 1999). Hence it was expected that this value orientation could be linked to the lower acceptance of nuclear power (Whitfield et al., 2009).
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Disaster Phases: Prevention
Types of Actors Concerned: Non-active citizens