Yes, we can: motivate Dutch citizens to engage in selfprotective behavior with regard to flood risks

Milou Kievik, Jan M. Gutteling

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Although the risk of flooding poses a serious threat to the Dutch public, citizens are not very inclined to engage in self-protective behaviors. Current risk communication tries to enhance these self-protective behaviors among citizens, but is nonetheless not very successful. The level of citizens engaging in self-protective actions remains rather low. Therefore, this research strives to determine the factors that might enhance or lessen the intention to engage in self-protection among citizens. The study was a 2 (flood risk: high vs low) × 2 (efficacy beliefs: high vs low) between subject experiment. It was conducted to test how varying levels of flood risk and efficacy beliefs influence two different self-protective behaviors, namely information seeking and the intention to engage in risk mitigating or preventive behaviors. Furthermore, the relationship between information seeking and the intention to take self-protective actions was discussed. Results showed that high levels of flood risk lead to higher levels of both information seeking and the intention to engage in self-protective behaviors than low levels of flood risk. For efficacy beliefs, the same trend occurred. Also, results showed that information seeking seems to coincide with the intention to take preventive actions and acted as a mediator between the levels of perceived risk and efficacy and the intention to take self-protective actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1475-1490
JournalNatural hazards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • IR-80557
  • METIS-280889
  • Information seeking – Self-protective behaviors – Risk perception – Efficacy beliefs – Flood risks

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