Are We Protected? Model for Predicting the Level of Perceived Secureness in the Face of a National Emergency in Israel

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Booth 48
Oral Presentation
Alex ALTSHULER , Ben-Gurion University , Beer-Sheva, Israel
      Introduction: National emergencies are characterized by a destructive potential of causing a severe damage to a community's social fabric, worsening the psychological well-being of citizens and even causing death. A war and major earthquake are among the most relevant types of national emergencies in the Israeli case.  Aim: The aim of the current research was to construct an innovative comprehensive analytical model for understanding the mechanisms that characterize human perceptions of national emergencies prior to their occurrence. Towards a broad understanding of the phenomenon, a novel measurement tool and a new holistic concept of "perceived secureness", that encompasses both risk perception and perceived preparedness, were created. Results: The results of this first of its kind analytical and empirical study indicate that regarding an earthquake in the Israeli context there were found strong and significant relationships between the three dimensions of perceived secureness:  national and local (r=0.86, p<0.001), national and household (r=0.79, p<0.001), local and household (r=0.82, p<0.001). However, the results regarding a war reflect a different pattern: the relationship between national and local perceived secureness was found insignificant (r=0.08, n.s.) as well as between national and household secureness (r=0.08, n.s.), while the relationship between local and household secureness was found strong and significant (r=0.93, p<0.001). In addition, all the cross-context (earthquake, war) relationships between the perceived secureness' dimensions were found insignificant. Conclusions: The novel parsimonious concept of perceived secureness was found to be context-and-dimension-sensitive. In terms of context, it distinguished between an earthquake and war and in terms of dimension, it distinguished between the national, local and household level. Consequently, it may serve as an effective tool for scientific analysis, risk communication monitoring and public policy consolidation.