Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (1.32 MB)

Factors predicting citizens’ risk tolerance regarding earthquakes

Download (1.32 MB)
posted on 2021-11-14, 11:43 authored by Henrich, Liv

People tolerate different levels of risk from different hazards in their day-to-day life. Perceptions of risks and the amount of risk mitigation people desire for different hazards vary. Previous research shows that the psychometric properties of different hazards predict the level of risk people tolerate for various hazards, but not for earthquakes. Risk tolerance is likely to also be affected by factors other than the psychometric properties of hazards. This research tested how earthquakes score on psychometric risk properties compared to five other hazards, and aimed to replicate previous research on the risk factors predicting risk tolerance. Secondly, the research aimed to test if other factors, namely framing effects, risk perception and fatalistic thinking predict risk tolerance for earthquakes. In Study 1, participants from Wellington, New Zealand (N = 139) rated six different hazards (nuclear power, smoking, alcohol, driving, flying and earthquakes) on several risk characteristics and measures of risk tolerance. The results showed that the different hazards were perceived differently in terms of risk tolerance and that participants thought different risk mitigation actions were appropriate for the six hazards. Factor analysis showed that factors derived from risk characteristics did not predict risk tolerance. Study 2 (N = 173) assessed the effects of framing messages, risk perception and fatalism on risk tolerance (judgments about the firmness of the legislation; willingness to pay tax) and judgments about who should pay. The frames had an effect on participants’ concern about the risk, but did not affect the other measures. Generally participants thought that the Government should pay for strengthening buildings, however, those participants who perceived damage as preventable (fatalism measure) thought that private owners should pay for strengthening.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and the Cognitive sciences

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


McClure, John