Principal Investigator

Conceptualized as a dynamic process of individual health protective mechanism, disaster preparedness is defined as individual behavior changes in this study, from “not prepared” (NP) stage to “having an intention to prepare” (IP) stage, and ultimately to “already prepared” (AP) stage. Although older adults are much more vulnerable to the health effects of disasters than their middle age and young adult counterparts, the extent to which behavioral transitions from one stage to another differ across the two groups has not been explored. Integrating the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) with Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and Protection Motivation Theory (PMT), we propose a new model to examine a series of specific reasons behind behavior changes for disaster preparedness. Using 2022 National Household Survey data (FEMA, 2022), this U.S. population study will address the following questions.
1. Are there disparities in behavior changes for disaster preparedness between older adults and non-older adults?
2. If so, to what extent are these disparities accounted for by income differences between the two groups?
3. To what extent does personal disaster experience, preparedness awareness, self-efficacy, and risk perception each contribute to behavior changes for disaster preparedness, especially when people are at different income levels?
The study also seeks to provide a new statistical method to estimate individual behavior changes in departure from the NP stage and in arrival to the AP stage, respectively. To fill the research gap with respect to disaster preparedness for older adults (as recently discussed by NIH/NIA [2002]), the proposed study aims to identify the specific reasons behind older adults’ decision-making process for all-hazards disaster preparedness. We aim to publish our findings from this study in peer-reviewed academic journals. Using these results, we will then employ the present process-oriented approach and subsequent measurement to study how to support older adults’ preparedness when they are exposed in specific hazards (e.g., floodings, wildfires, heatwaves, earthquakes), through extramural funding from NIH and/or NSF.

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