Disaster risk reduction: Psychological perspectives on preparedness

Douglas Paton

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    Facilitating people's ability to anticipate, prepare for and recover from disaster is an important component of the UNISDR strategy for disaster risk reduction. Following a discussion of the functional characteristics of preparedness, this paper first discusses how hazard characteristics and psychological constructs influence people's ability to anticipate uncertain future events. It then reviews how psychological theories (Health Belief Model, Protection Motivation Theory, PrE Theory, Theory of Planned Behaviour, Critical Awareness Theory, Social Marketing, Protective Action Decision Model, Social Capital, Community Engagement Theory and Social Identity Theory) can inform understanding of preparedness for likely and current hazard events. Discussion then then turns to applying concepts and theories to understanding preparedness for current disasters. The all-hazards and cross-cultural applicability of preparedness theory is discussed, as are a need for a critical appraisal of preparedness, its predictors, and the nature and development of the preparedness process and its application in facilitating effective intervention strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)327-341
    Number of pages15
    JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number4
    Early online date24 Dec 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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