Older Adults' Hurricane Risk Perceptions and Behavioral Responses

Authors: Chongming Wang*, Jacksonville State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Environmental Perception, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: risk perception, preparedness, evacuation intention, older adults, hurricane
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Balcony B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This study is characterized by a survey instrument built upon the findings of a qualitative inquiry into hurricane risk perceptions, preparedness, and evacuation intentions among older adults in Sarasota, Florida. Several patterns had surfaced from the in-depth interviews. First, while local older residents’ knowledge of hurricane threats varied from simple to sophisticated, their perceptions of hurricane risks were predominantly low due to a local myth and hurricane quiescence in recent memory. Second, most older residents took generic actions by preparing extra water and food, but lacked more hurricane-specific preparedness efforts due to complacency and lack of awareness, financial and social capital. Third, although a minority of older residents would definitely either shelter in place or evacuate, most demonstrated flexibility with hurricane evacuation and would make spontaneous and situational choices for staying versus leaving in the event of a hurricane. The purpose of the quantitative survey is to identify the distribution of the aforementioned phenomena as well as to test the emergent hypotheses from the qualitative findings to a larger number of older Sarasotans. In parallel, the survey seeks to illuminate key factors that influence risk perceptions, preparedness, and evacuation intentions and demonstrate how these factors interact with one another to create opportunities or barriers in regards to hurricane preparation and evacuation behaviors. The study is expected to highlight the complexities surrounding risk perceptions and behavioral responses of older adults under hurricane threats and help inform better planning and policies that are sensitized to the concerns and needs of this population.

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