Ruud Zaalberg, Cees Midden, Teddy McCalley, Anneloes Meijnders: Fight or flight: Flooding experiences in the NetherlandsPoster in Poster
The earth's climate has changed rapidly in recent decades. This will have far-reaching consequences for low-lying countries such as the Netherlands. Sensitivity to warnings is crucial in order to deal with climate change risks adequately and to motivate people to cope with these risks. Our focus is on the role of prior experience with floods on the processing of warnings. In a survey among 516 households living near the rivers Rhine and Meuse, households with different flooding experiences were compared: being (a) flooded and evacuated, (b) flooded, (c) evacuated, (d), threatened, and (e) controls. Structural equation modeling with multiple groups was used to predict different coping strategies, such as property protection and evacuation, from cognitive risk evaluations and affect. Consistent with Protection Motivation Theory, path analyses showed that the simultaneous effects of threat and coping appraisal were indispensable predictors of the different coping strategies across groups. Importantly, the affective/cognitive model of persuasion explained less variance in the different coping strategies for residents with disaster experience compared to controls. A differential approach in persuasive risk communication should be developed for residents with disaster experience.