A Cognitive-Affective Scale for Hurricane Risk Perception.
The aim of this study was to develop a reliable and valid measure of hurricane risk perception. The utility of such a measure lies in the need to understand how people make decisions when facing an evacuation order. This study included participants located within a 15-mile buffer of the Gulf and southeast Atlantic U.S. coasts. The study was executed as a three-wave panel with mail surveys in 2010-2012 (T0 baseline N = 629, 56%; T1 retention N = 427, 75%; T2 retention N = 350, 89%). An inventory based on the psychometric model was developed to discriminate cognitive and affective perceptions of hurricane risk, and included open-ended responses to solicit additional concepts in the T0 survey. Analysis of the T0 data modified the inventory and this revised item set was fielded at T1 and then replicated at T2 . The resulting scales were assessed for validity against existing measures for perception of hurricane risk, dispositional optimism, and locus of control. A measure of evacuation expectation was also examined as a dependent variable, which was significantly predicted by the new measures. The resulting scale was found to be reliable, stable, and largely valid against the comparison measures. Despite limitations involving sample size, bias, and the strength of some reliabilities, it was concluded that the measure has potential to inform approaches to hurricane preparedness efforts and advance planning for evacuation messages, and that the measure has good promise to generalize to other contexts in natural hazards as well as other domains of risk.