Institutional preparedness raises levels of citizen concern


Contrary to the expectations, results revealed that perceived institutional preparedness corresponds with a higher level of perceived risk (Lee & Lemyre, 2009). Authors suggested that it is possible that citizens perceived institutional preparedness as a sign that terrorist attack is somewhat likely to happen, which increased their worries. Additionally, people who perceived institutions as more prepared for terrorist attacks showed a greater tendency to avoidance behaviour. Again, this result might reflect their impression that an attack is more likely to happen. Hence they choose to avoid places that could be targeted. These results are particularly interesting since previous studies showed that higher trust in authority's ability to react to a disastrous event (natural or nuclear) is followed by lower levels of perceived risk (Terpstra, 2010; Whitfield et al., 2009). It is possible that high perceived uncontrollability and unpredictability of terrorist attacks may modify the relationship between the risk perception and the trust in authorities, but further studies are needed for us to draw a definitive conclusion. A higher perception of institutional preparedness was also associated with citizens' tendencies to engage in individual preparedness behaviours. According to the authors of this study, institutional preparedness might be playing the role of a “social norm“, which encourages people to additionally involve in individual protective behaviours (Lee & Lemyre, 2009).

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