Published works

Published works

Cultural worldviews and natural hazard risk perception: a pilot study of Australian adults

TitleCultural worldviews and natural hazard risk perception: a pilot study of Australian adults
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsParsons, M, Lykins, A
Conference NameAFAC17
Date Published09/2017
PublisherBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Conference LocationSydney

Perception of the risks of natural hazards is considered to be one of the precursors of desirable behaviors of mitigation, preparation, and resilience. However, the processes of risk perception are complex and are likely related to underlying cognitive factors associated with information processing. Cultural worldview theory suggests that people actively choose what to fear (and how much to fear it) in order to support their ways of life (Kahan, 2012). Aspects of these choices may include prioritizing public vs. private interests, choice vs. control, and differing levels of belief and/or adherence to egalitarianism, hierarchy, individualism, and communitarianism. To assess whether and how cultural worldviews relate to perceptions of risk to natural hazards we recruited 503 residents of New South Wales (stratified between urban and regional areas) who completed a cultural worldview questionnaire and a new questionnaire developed by the researchers to assess four aspects of natural hazards: 1) perceptions of the risk of natural hazards; 2) perceptions of control over natural hazards; 3) perceptions of responsibility for natural hazard preparation and outcome; and 4) trust in different sources of information about natural hazards. Results indicated significant but varying relationships among cultural cognition types (i.e., egalitarianism, hierarchy, individualism, communitarianism) and the four aspects of natural hazard risk perception. Some consistency was found regarding how cultural cognition types predicted risk perception across four different types of natural hazards (bushfire, flood, severe thunderstorm, earthquake) but this also varied by geographical location. Understanding the influence of cultural worldviews on attitudes toward natural hazards might lead to community engagement messages orientated to the views of egalitarianism, hierarchy, individualism, and communitarianism.

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed

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