Hurricane Threat and Evacuation Intentions: An Analysis of Risk Perception, Preparedness, Social Influence, and Resources

Riad, Jasmin K.
Norris, Frank H.
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Disaster Research Center
The goal of this study was to test a model in which the decision to evacuate is a function of four processes (risk perception, preparedness, social influence, and economic resources). Participants were interviewed by telephone both while they were under a hurricane warning and after the threat had disappeared (pre-post sample). Because all respondents had been participants in an earlier panel study, pre-threat data were also available. The pre-post sample of 95 panelists was older than the nonrespondent sample of 54 panelists who could not be reached by phone during the warning period but was otherwise comparable. The results indicated that higher risk perception and the belief that one is influenced by others are the strongest predictors of intentions to evacuate. Furthermore, risk perception was shown to mediate the influences of many background variables (e.g., experiences, demographics) on evacuation intentions. Post-event comparisons between the pre-post group and a reactivity control group of 66 panelists suggested that the warning period interview did not increase anxiety but may have influenced reactive preparedness.
hurricane , evacuation , risk perception , preparedness , social influence , economic resources