Societal Influences on Earthquake Information Meaning-Making and Household Preparedness1

August 2014 (VOL. 32, NO. 2)

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Previous research has identified a diversity of personal and individual factors that influence household preparedness for earthquakes. However, societal influences on the preparedness process are less well studied. In particular, there is limited understanding of the impact that wider society has on people’s interpretation of earthquake and preparedness information, and how this relates to people’s decisions about getting prepared for earthquakes. To address this gap, a New Zealand-based project was initiated to investigate how social factors interact with individuals’ meaning-making of earthquake information and how this affects subsequent earthquake preparedness behaviour. A range of social factors were identified as being influential on the meaningmaking and preparedness process, including community (community participation, sense of community); leadership; responsibility (responsibility for preparing, responsibility for others); social norms; trust; and societal requirements.