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Social Representations of Earthquakes: A Study of People Living in Three Highly Seismic Areas
Joffe, Helene; Rosetto, Tiziana; Solberg, Christian; O'Connor, Cliodhna
Much research on people’s seismic adjustment activity in highly seismic areas has assumed that low levels of adjustment are attributable to insufficient awareness of seismic risk. Empirical evidence for this assumption is weak, and there is growing appreciation of the role played by sociocultural and emotional variables in risk perception and behavior. This study explored these sociocultural and emotional dimensions via 144 interviews and questionnaires, with matched samples of locals in Seattle (United States), Osaka (Japan), and Izmir (Turkey). The data showed that high awareness of possible seismic adjustment measures was not translated into behavior, with all sites demonstrating low adjustment uptake, though the North Americans adopted significantly more adjustments than the other cultures. Thematic analysis of the interview data suggested that adjustment behavior was undermined by anxiety, distrust, distancing self from earthquake risk and fatalistic beliefs. The paper concludes by recommending how culture-specific disaster mitigation plans may be developed to address these factors.
Keyword(s): social representations; earthquakes; highly seismic areas; risk perception; seismic adjustment activity; awareness; Seattle; Osaka; Izmir
Publication Date:
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): Joffe, Helene and Rosetto, Tiziana and Solberg, Christian and O'Connor, Cliodhna (2013) Social Representations of Earthquakes: A Study of People Living in Three Highly Seismic Areas. Earthquake Spectra, 29 (2). pp. 367-397. ISSN 8755-2930
Publisher(s): Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
File Format(s): other
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First Indexed: 2020-04-02 06:39:06 Last Updated: 2020-04-02 06:39:06