Disasters have a deep impact on public views, including an impact on basic beliefs and values
In relation to previous findings (see source document for full description), showing the influence of trust on perceived nuclear risk, some studies aimed to investigate circumstances that might affect the level of trust itself. In a study conducted in 2012, Prati and Zani investigated whether the Fukushima accident led to a change in the level of trust in authorities, perceived nuclear risk, antinuclear behavioural intentions, nuclear attitudes and environmental beliefs in Italian citizens. Additionally, this study explored whether a large-scale disaster could change the basic social values defined in the VBN model (Stern et al., 1999). Having in mind that the study of Whitfield and colleagues (Whitfield et al., 2009) showed that positive nuclear attitudes are associated with stronger traditional and weaker altruistic values, Prati and Zani expected that a nuclear disaster would be followed by the increase of environmental beliefs, a stronger adherence to altruistic and a weaker adherence to traditional values (Prati & Zani, 2012). After the Fukushima accident, Italian citizens showed less pronuclear attitudes, less trust in authorities and higher perceived risk (Prati & Zani, 2012), which is in line with previous studies (Drottz-Sjöberg & Sjöberg, 1990; Katsuya, 2001). Interestingly, results further suggested that Fukushima accident has also led to some changes in peoples' beliefs and values. Namely, after the Fukushima accident, Italian citizens showed more pro-environmental beliefs (Prati & Zani, 2012). Based on these results, authors argued that major events (such as the Fukushima accident) might increase the level of concern for well-being and biosphere, which can be seen as a manifestation of altruism, one of the basic components of VBN model (Stern et al., 1999). In other words, this study suggested that disasters have a deep impact on public views, including an impact on basic beliefs and values (Prati & Zani, 2012).
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