Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Natural Hazards Perceptions in the United States: Significant Determining Factors and Influences on Where People Live
by Jackson, Sarah, M.S., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2016, 144; 10249688
Abstract (Summary)

The need for an improved understanding of natural hazards perceptions and environmental migration is obvious due to the lack of empirical research linking the two subjects. The following investigation revealed the variation in natural hazards perceptions among individuals living in the United States, along with the factors that significantly influenced those perceptions. Also, the study determined what ways natural hazards perceptions impact where people choose to live and what natural disasters most frequently caused displacement in the U.S. To solve these questions, a nationwide researcher-designed online survey asked respondents about their familiarities with natural hazard threats, socio-demographics, and natural disaster experiences. Using 578 survey responses, a Hazards Perceptions Index was developed to evaluate how well respondents perceived natural hazard threats where they lived. The analysis of the Hazards Perceptions Index results revealed that most respondents possessed correct perceptions of the majority of natural hazards threatening the areas in which they lived. Quantitative analysis using contingency tables tests found the five factors that significantly influenced respondents’ hazards perceptions were (1) the use of television news warnings in the event of a disaster, (2) possessing a background in natural disaster education, (3) having read or watched a natural disaster source, (4) total household income, and (5) race/ethnicity. Further statistical testing using contingency tables testing determined that respondents consider natural hazard threats when choosing the residence in which they will live, but not the region, state, or neighborhood. Descriptive statistics performed on the qualitative, open-ended survey responses found that floods and tornadoes were the two disasters to cause most frequent displacement in the United States within this sample of the study. Overall, the set of recommended strategies outlined by the researcher based on the findings of the study can help improve natural hazards perceptions and diminish the negative consequences of natural disasters in the United States.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hume, Susan
Commitee: Grossman, Michael, Zhou, Bin
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Environmental Sciences
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 56/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Physical geography, Environmental Studies
Keywords: Environmental migration, Natural disasters, Natural hazards, Perceptions, Social vulnerability, United States
Publication Number: 10249688
ISBN: 978-1-369-52941-8
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