2012 volume 44(3) pages 649 – 668
doi:10.1068/a43612

Cite as:
Harries T, 2012, "The anticipated emotional consequences of adaptive behaviour—impacts on the take-up of household flood-protection measures" Environment and Planning A 44(3) 649 – 668

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The anticipated emotional consequences of adaptive behaviour—impacts on the take-up of household flood-protection measures

Tim Harries

Received 29 December 2010; in revised form 21 August 2011

Abstract. When considering householder responses to flood risk, researchers and policy makers have perhaps focused too much on the influence of risk perceptions and concerns about material costs and benefits. Using secondary analysis of survey data from UK households who had experienced flooding or who were at risk of flooding, this paper presents evidence to suggest that protective behaviour may be influenced less by material and financial considerations than by concerns about feelings of anxiety and insecurity. It also looks at the role of beliefs about protection and flooding in mediating the impacts of flood experience and suggests that experience reduces confidence in the ameliorative capacity of insurance and promotes the belief that protective measures increase anxiety about flooding. The paper concludes that more research should be carried out on the role of anticipated emotions in risk response and that policy makers and the designers of protection products should pay more attention to the emotional barriers and incentives to adaptation.

Keywords: flooding, self-protection, experience, risk perception

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