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  • Applying cultural values to encourage disaster preparedness: Lessons from a low-hazard country
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Applying cultural values to encourage disaster preparedness: Lessons from a low-hazard country

Source(s):  Elsevier

The CARISMAND project investigated the relationships between risk perception and cultural factors in man-made and natural disasters. The present study focused on attitudes, feelings and perceptions in a ”low-risk” country, the island of Malta. This research location was chosen due to its unique geographical and geo-political position. In combination with the low level of prevalent disaster risk, it can be seen to be particularly suitable for elucidating cultural factors which are strong enough to generate behavioural change in such an environment and allow further insight into the relationship between risk perception, culture and behaviour.

The data were collected during a Citizen Summit (held in Malta in 2016) which combined quantitative inquiry, for measuring cognitive and emotional responses related to risk perception, with qualitative methods that follow the “fluid” character of culture. It was found that disaster risk perception showed only weak links to preparedness intentions, supporting other published results. Focus group discussions revealed several cultural traits, most prominently strong family values and social cohesion, which was also supported by the quantitative data. Furthermore, evidence highlighted how personal values are transformed into cultural values, and how these can work in favour, or against, a motivation to prepare for disasters. Results suggest that integrating shared local values, shared everyday experiences, and shared local memories in risk communication strategies and behavioural guidelines may be effective in encouraging citizens’ disaster preparedness.



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  • Applying cultural values to encourage disaster preparedness: Lessons from a low-hazard country
  • Publication date 2018
  • Author(s) Appleby-Arnold, Sandra; Brockdorff, Noellie; Jakovljev, Ivana; Zdravkovic, Suncica
  • Number of pages 8 p.

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