Understanding Preparedness for Natural Hazards: A cross cultural comparison

Douglas Paton, Norio Okada, Saut Sagala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A key element in risk management in countries susceptible to experiencing natural hazards is facilitating preparedness. While several theories of preparedness have been developed, they have emerged in countries that are culturally individualistic. Recognition of the fact that the majority of disasters occur in countries that are predominantly collectivistic has identified a need to test the cross cultural applicability of theories of preparedness. This paper discusses some preliminary work on the cross cultural applicability of Paton’s (2008) community engagement theory. Following a discussion of the cross cultural face validity of the content of this theory, the paper discusses evidence of cross cultural applicability of the theory using data from New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan. The results suggest that, irrespective of culture, the more citizens are able to collectively formulate their risk management needs and strategies and the more they perceive their needs as having been met through their relationship with civic agencies, the more likely they are to trust them and the information they provide, and to use information to decide to adopt hazard preparation measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-35
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Integrated Disaster Risk Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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