Worldwide there is a growing need for citizens to prepare for environmental risks to mitigate potential adversity. In order to predict preparedness, behavioral models typically used variables at an individual level of analysis, such as risk perception and assessment of the effectiveness of possible actions (response-efficacy). The present study elaborated on these findings by also incorporating affect and social (participation and community efficacy) and institutional (trust and empowerment) level variables. The goal of the research was to examine to what extent these different variables could predict flood preparedness of 629 Dutch citizens resident in The Hague (an area below sea level). The results showed that affect had both a direct and an indirect effect on level of preparedness. The indirect pathway was mediated by people's assessment of the probability of a future event. This supports the notion that preparatory behavior is influenced by both a cognitive and an affective route. At the social level, a direct effect for participation was found: the more residents participated in their community the more they prepared. At the institutional level, the influence of empowerment on preparedness was mediated by participation. Overall, the results point to the need to address both cognition and affect in communicating risks and to make better use of social networks in facilitating citizen preparedness for hazards.
- Dual processing