Moving beyond “Have you experienced a tornado?”: Validly measuring people's past tornado experiences and risk perceptions
This presentation will discuss an effort to (a) develop a scale to validly measure past experience in the context of tornado risks, (b) apply and evaluate a set of dual process—i.e., cognitive and affective—risk perception measures to the tornado context, and (c) explore the relationship between people's tornado experiences and risk perceptions. Initial items were developed to measure past tornado experience, and they were evaluated through a mixed-mode survey of the public who live throughout the tornado-prone central United States. Open-ended survey questions also were included to elicit aspects of people's past tornado experiences in their own words. This presentation will discuss the exploratory factor analysis of the close-ended items and the qualitative data analysis of the open-ended questions. Combined, these analyses help begin to understand the nature and dimensions of people's past experiences. Then, the relationship between people's past experiences and their tornado risk perceptions will be discussed. Findings from this research have the potential to inform tornado warning risk communication, which could enhance people's future decision-making and protective responses.