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Title:Hazard Perception Research: A Critique and Proposal (Fishbein, Tornado)
Author(s):Bertness, Jan E.
Department / Program:Geography
Discipline:Geography
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Geography
Abstract:Hazard perception research has been based on the assumption that an individual's hazard behavior is a function of his hazard perception (his subjective beliefs about the hazard). Yet empirical evidence on the perception-behavior relationship has been contradictory. Further, the behavioral impacts of such other commonly studied variables as hazard experience or socioeconomic characteristics have been equally contradictory; terminology in the field has been poorly defined; and theory has been inadequate.
There is growing awareness of these problems among hazard investigators, but few solutions have been proposed. For example, there has been little attempt to explain how perceptions or other individual characteristics influence behavior (i.e., what causal linkages exist between them and behaviors) and thus no explanation of why behavioral impacts are inconsistent.
This dissertation provides evidence to substantiate the preceding comments; proposes a solution based on Fishbein's "theory of reasoned action;" and tests and compares this theory to traditional methods of explanation. Data is collected by questionnaire from rural Iowa residents concerning personal characteristics, and beliefs and behaviors with respect to tornadoes. The ability of hazard perceptions and the other commonly studied individual characteristics to predict self-reported tornado behaviors is compared to the predictive ability of Fishbein's model and its independent variables: "beliefs about the consequences of performing a behavior" and "normative beliefs." A general framework is also proposed, based on both traditional variables and Fishbein's model, which specifies that traditional variable-behavior relationships are mediated by the independent variables of Fishbein's model. The framework thus explains observed relationships and suggests that consistent relationships should not be expected.
Empirical results indicated that Fishbein's basic model was superior to the traditional approach in predicting the tornado behaviors. The general framework was successful in explaining many observed traditional variable-behavior relationships, but not all. Nevertheless, it was concluded that the framework, with some modifications, could provide the organizing theory needed in hazards work.
The new approach would be in the spirit of traditional hazard perception research, since it explains behaviors on the basis of subjective and potentially erroneous individual beliefs, and has potential for improving preparedness programs.
Issue Date:1986
Type:Text
Description:327 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/70648
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8701435
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1986


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