Disaster Preparedness: A Conceptual and Empirical Reevaluation

March 2002 (VOL. 20, NO. 1)

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Preparedness is a basic core concept in disaster research. Yet, its conceptual construction and empirical validity have rarely been assessed. Combining a theoretical variable-based proposition set derived from the disaster literature and expert judgments, a broad series of measures of preparedness are proposed. Employing a national sample of 814 urban households in Israel provided the opportunity to empirically validate this concept. Both nonparametric and multivariate analyses showed that the general construct of preparedness to actually be a series of separate factors. Regressing each factor against a common set of theoretical explanatory variables showed significant differences in the set of predictors of each preparedness factor. These results suggest that “preparedness” cannot be seen as a single overall concept but must be evaluated in terms of its derivative constructs. For disaster managers, this means that managerial practices directed toward increasing disaster preparedness behaviors must focus attention and resources separately on those variables directly affecting each type of preparedness construct. \r\n\r\n