Previous experience with natural disasters is linked to a greater willingness to be better prepared and cooperate with local authorities


Previous experience with natural disasters is considered to be one of the strongest predictors of perceived risk of future natural disasters (Siegrist & Gutscher, 2006). Studies have shown that people who were affected by some natural disaster in the past, tend to be more concerned regarding future disasters and to have a greater sense of dread related to them (Ho et al., 2008; Lawrence, Quade, & Becker, 2014). Additionally, it has been demonstrated that the disaster experience tends to increase the number of protective behaviours in people as a form of preparation for possible future events (Knocke & Kolivras, 2007; Siegrist & Gutscher, 2006). For example, one study has shown that people who have directly experienced floods in the past have shown higher level of perceived risk, greater willingness to be involved in household preparation for future floods, and greater willingness to cooperate with authorities compared to people who did not experience floods (Lawrence et al., 2014). Studies have also shown that if people experienced any damage or loss caused by floods they tend to be more willing to purchase flood insurance (Siegrist & Gutscher, 2006; Zaleskiewicz, Piskorz, & Borkowska, 2002). The increased involvement in protective behaviour after the disaster experience has also been shown for earthquakes (i.e. buying earthquake insurance, developing evacuation plan, selecting safe destination, preparing water and food supplies etc.) and volcanic disasters (buying volcano insurance, learning the breathing protection measures, developing evacuation plan, selecting safe destination etc.) (Perry & Lindell, 2008). It is hypothesized that personal experience with a disaster provides people with a detailed illustration of the threat, which then results in a higher level of perceived risk and a greater number of future protective behaviours (Wachinger et al., 2013).

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