טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentKoren Yuval
SubjectAn Analysis of Factors Affecting "Risk Perceptions" of the
Civilian Population in Israel
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Alan Kirschenbaum


Abstract

Risk-perception is the way in which the individual, group or community, analyze situations in order to evaluate various risks that they face.
An extensive literature review, showed inconsistencies in the  absence of concern for the internal structure of the risk-perception construct. Therefore, the first objective of our research was to analyze the structure of risk-perception.
The literature review led also to a definition of five variable categories assumed to affect risk-perception (i.e., socio-demographic, economic background, knowledge of the risks, previous experience with disasters, and networks). Hence, the working model of the research assumes that risk-perception is a complex phenomenon and is independently conceived by an individual for each disaster type. It is also assumed that the five categories of explanatory variables would affect risk-perception, and that risk-perceptions of the sub-variables would lead to better preparedness.
The research encompassed 814 participants, who answered a national representative the survey by phone. The  factor analysis results showed that risk-perception consist of six main factors: Personal level war risks, General war risks, Natural disaster risk, Accidents risk, Industrial risk, Technological risk. It assumed that those factors are universal and can be applied anywhere. The factor analysis also revealed that the risk-perception of the Israeli population is biased by a “non-realistic optimism bias”, Unexpectedly it also showed that conventional war risks are included in the same factor with non-conventional war risks.
The second research objective, to find predictors of risk factors, was achieved by the regression analyses. The results revealed that specific variables will significantly predict different risk factors. These findings improve the ability to predict the risk-perception of a specific disaster
The third objective of this research was to examine whether risk-perception factors affect the  preparedness for disasters. The results of the regression analyses show that risk- perception has a significant effect on two main preparedness factors, supply and skills, which fulfill the need to survive. Therefore, it  seems that the answer to the model question, whether risk-perception leads to better preparedness, is a conditional yes. Understanding the connection between risk-perception and preparedness, allows us to improve risk communication and effectively influence preparedness behavior of  communities and civilians.
To summarize- the research has revealed a complex model in which different variables affect the risk-perception of an individual and population. Risk-perception has a disaster specific structure and it leads to a better preparedness of the population for variety of disasters and threats.