J2.5 An Examination of the Impact of Culture on Response to Severe Weather Alerts

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 5:00 PM
Room 19A (Austin Convention Center)
Terri Adams, Howard Univ., Washington, DC; and C. Stroman and T. Tyree

Review of relevant literature on disaster response indicates that an individual's response to risks and threats of disaster appear to be a function of a number of factors; two of the most well documented factors in the literature are prior experience and risk perception. Some scholars have found that repeat experiences with natural disasters increase individuals' understanding of potential threats and the required response to an impending danger (Cross, 1990; Janis, 1962; Perry et al., 1982). However, others have found that prior exposure to disaster(s) has very little impact on individual's perceptions of potential dangers, and constant exposure to risks can reduce the degree to which the potential danger remains relevant in the minds of those at risk (Rogers, 1997; Ruiter et al., 2004). Consequently, the credibility of a warning is diminished when similar warnings have resulted in what may be perceived as “false alarms.” This project examines various cultural nuances that influence individual's memories of past threats as well as their perceptions of risk to severe weather events.
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