Risk judgments and social norms: Do they relate to preparedness after the Kaikoura earthquakes

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McClure, John
Ferrick, Millie
Johnston, David

Research has shown that preparation for natural hazard events reflects several factors including risk judgments and the cost of the actions. Research has also shown the effects of norms in other domains but very little in regard to natural hazards. This study examined risk judgments and preparedness norms following the recent Kaikoura earthquakes. Wellington citizens judged the risk of earthquakes in Wellington, Kaikoura and other parts of New Zealand (‘elsewhere’) before and after the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. They also reported their preparation and perception of norms for different categories of preparation. Judgments of the risk of a further earthquake occurring following the Kaikoura earthquake rose more for Kaikoura than for Wellington and elsewhere, but participants still judged an earthquake more likely in Wellington and elsewhere than in Kaikoura. Preparation related to risk judgment and to the judgment that preparing was normative, particularly for survival actions. These findings suggest that normative information adds to the effect of risk perceptions about the probability of an earthquake to enhance preparation for these hazards. This finding can be applied in risk communications for earthquakes and other hazards.

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