Psychological Vulnerability and Earthquake Risk Perception in Bucharest/Romania
University of Bucharest Psychological Vulnerability and Earthquake Risk Perception in Bucharest/Romania Zeno Romeo Cretu (1), Iuliana Armas (2) and Irina Stanciugelu (3) (1) University of Bucharest, Faculty of Psychology (2) University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, (3) Public and Administrative Sciences National School
<ul><li>identify the relational patterns to natural risk, through an efficient methodology, and to present results that could be applied to disaster management. </li></ul>OBJECTIVE:
We need risks and dangerous events to build-up resilience <ul><li>Theoretical background: R isk perception are models ( semantic images – Renn, 2008) which allow people to cope with dangerous phenomena (Jasanoff, 1998). In oder to understand the concept underlying the psychological variables, in our research we appealed to the social learning (Rotter, 1966), autoeffectiveness (Bandura, 1983), anxiety and stress theories </li></ul>
We need risks and dangerous events to build-up resilience <ul><li>Methodological background: - A multi-modal questionnaire structured on a 49 items sequence. - The items captured the cognitive elements (expectations, anticipations and negative or positive judgements regarding the risk element), affective (feelings) and behaviours (activities, strategies in case of disaster). </li></ul>
We need risks and dangerous events to build-up resilience Working hypothesis <ul><li>The identified range of perception patterns (Renn, 2008) are more related to psychological features than to the characteristics of risk. Semantic images from the district “stroke or fate” and “trust” have been tested in empirical surveys (like ’belief in personal control’, ‘personal control and ability to manage danger’, ‘voluntary activity’ ) </li></ul><ul><li>The carachteristics of risk (like probability and magnitude, time scales) are differently perceived according to psychological factors. These factors also play an important role in people ’ s ability to draw inferences from probabilistic information (like cognitive dissonance). </li></ul>
Results 1. The scores of the psychological factors are corelated with demographical and socio-economical characteristics of the subjects. Study areas and sample distributions 2008 = 500 subj 2009 = 1370 subjects 2005-2006 = 500 pers.
1.a. The three factors have different variations, depending on the sex and age of the individuals. For both sexes, significant differences were obtained between age categories for Stress vulnerability factor and for External Locus of Control factor. Men develop an ascending trend of NonSelf-efficacy (or descending trend of efficacy) as they grow older, while women reduce their NonSelf-efficacy for the age of 30–49 category, after which they develop an ascending trend for it.
<ul><li>1.b. An other hypothesis tested was between the 3 psychological factors and the socio-economical status of the person (income, education, number of persons from the household, buildings features). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceived stress and locus of control, inverse correlated with respondents’ education and with family income. It is an increase of risk perception in the population with lower educational backgrounds. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> Risk perception is related with subjects’ socio-economic status, that implies also a certain habitation safety. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are statistically significant interrelations between Stress vulnerability factor and the safety of the building, height and construction year. </li></ul></ul>Spatial distribution of the social vulnerability factor (census units 2002) and the composite vulnerability factor (tested sample, %)
<ul><li>2. Trust and how it influences the perception of risk: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When self-confidence decreases, it increases the individual’s orientation towards obtaining support and security from outside. When these needs aren’t satisfied by the society, the apprehension becomes a constant condition. The distrust in support is based on a very high expectance level from population in community safety institutions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The lack of resources, implying a small resilience, and the distrust in support, emphasises unadapted behaviours; hence, the major importance of local authorities and the image they manage to build in a community. </li></ul></ul>
Conclusions <ul><li>Risk is perceived as a misfortune and is connected to the level of control </li></ul><ul><li>The concern towards earthquake occurrence possibility in Bucharest is very high (and correlates with vulnerability level), 80% of the sample waiting for this event to happen in the next three years. </li></ul><ul><li>We identified a range of perception patterns, that are more related to psychological features than key characteristics of risk. </li></ul><ul><li>The orientation towards an internal or external locus of control and cognitive-kind processing influences the type of behaviour adapted in the case of a disaster (Joseph et al., 1993, Meichenbaum, 1995). </li></ul>4th March 1977 Earthquake in Bucharest