Our People

Alt Project Leader


Dr Ilona McNeill is a Research Fellow in Social Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on:

1. Risk-mitigating behaviours: How can we best encourage and enable residents of hazard prone areas to increase the performance of risk-mitigating behaviours? How can the role of disaster management agencies in encouraging and enabling preparedness and planning amongst residents be improved?

2. Understanding individual differences: Dr McNeill’s work also focuses on understanding how individual differences in personality and self-regulation play a role in the performance of risk-mitigating behaviours.

Project leadership

The increasing frequency and complexity of natural hazards poses a challenge for community resilience. Communication and education of risk mitigation strategies play an essential role in building and maintaining resilience through preparation and planning by residents.

This project, now in its utilisation phase, has combined expertise in communication, social and consumer psychology, and disaster and emergency management. It identified barriers and enablers in residents’ decision making, preparing, and planning by examining residents’ intended use of different types of triggers for action during hazards. This included when to start evacuating and what information source to use, with the aim of trying to understand why some residents form a better-quality household plan with safer intended triggers than other residents.

Year Type Citation
2016 Report McNeill, I. & Boldero, J. Increasing residents' preparedness and planning for natural hazards: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Conference Paper Cao, Y., Boruff, B. J. & McNeill, I. Mapping it out: a user-centred design framework for WebGIS public warnings - non peer reviewed extended abstract. Adelaide Conference 2015 (2015).
2015 Journal Article McNeill, I., Dunlop, P. D., Skinner, T. C. & Morrison, D. Predicting delay in residents’ decisions on defending v. evacuating through antecedents of decision avoidance. International Journal of Wildland Fire 24, 153-161 (2015).
2015 Report McNeill, I. & Boldero, J. Improving the Role of Hazard Communications in Increasing Residents' Preparedness and Response Planning Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2015 Report McNeill, I. & Boldero, J. Improving the role of hazard communications in increasing residents’ preparedness and response planning: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2014 Report McNeill, I., Harrison, H. Flatau, Dunlop, P. D., Skinner, T. C. & Morrison, D. Testing the Effectiveness of Task Difficulty, Behaviour Interpretation, and Social Comparison Interventions on Bushfire Preparedness – An Experimental Field Study. Brief Report on Phases 7 & 8 of the University of Western Australia & Bushfire CRC Research Project (2014).
2014 Report McNeill, I., Dunlop, P. D., Skinner, T. C. & Morrison, D. Communicating Risk Information Processing Under Stress: Community Reactions - project report 2012-2013. 1-74 (2014).
2013 Conference Proceedings McNeill, I., Dunlop, P. D., Skinner, T. C. & Morrison, D. Are you ready? Ready for what? – Examining intended fire responses and preparedness by residents of fire prone areas. 2013 Research Forum (2013). at <http://www.bushfirecrc.com/resources/research-report/are-you-ready-ready-what-%E2%80%93-examining-intended-fire-responses-and-preparedn>
2013 Report Cao, Y., Boruff, B. J. & McNeill, I. “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Defining the Preparatory Conditions in Support of Active Defence for Different Fire Danger Ratings. 2013 Research Forum (2013). at <http://www.bushfirecrc.com/sites/default/files/managed/resource/cao_y.pdf>
2011 Conference Proceedings McLennan, J. et al. Bushfire Survival-Related Decision Making: What the Stress and Performance Research Literature Tells Us. Bushfire CRC & AFAC 2011 Conference Science Day (2011). at <http://www.bushfirecrc.com/resources/pages-307-319-bushfire-survival-related-decision-making>