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Place attachment, knowledge and institutional trust in the relations to risk

Abstract : The present study examined the relationships between place attachment, perceived and actual knowledge of safety measures, trust in the authorities, and satisfaction with information delivery among a sample of residents living in a high-risk place. Research on risk perception describes paradoxical effects of place attachment which, on the one hand, can be related to higher risk perception, and on the other hand, implies a greater risk acceptance. This acceptance seems to result from an underestimation of danger and an illusion of control (individual confidence in one’s own abilities or in the institution’s abilities to face the event). To provide a better understanding of the role of place attachment, we examined whether and how this variable can be associated with increased (but false) sense of knowing the protective measures and increased trust and satisfaction in the information provided by official sources. A questionnaire was completed by 143 residents from two villages in the south of France that are ex- posed to several major hazards (i.e., forest fires, floods, landslides, earthquakes, dam-break, nuclear, transportation of dangerous goods). Participants were asked to list what to do and not to do if each of those hazard would occur. Their answers were compared to the community’s safety instructions (presented in a public document available for each resident), allowing us to calculate an index of actual knowledge. Additionally, participants were asked to report their perceived knowledge of safety behaviours for each hazard, their trust in the institutions, their satisfaction with information delivery, and their place attachment. Results show that place attachment was positively associated with perceived knowledge while being unrelated to actual knowledge. In other words, the more participants felt attached to their place, the more they felt knowing how to protect themselves in the event of a major risk while being unable to report more safety measures. Furthermore, participants’ actual knowledge of safety behaviours was positively related to their level of satisfaction with the information delivery, this relationship was mediated by their perceived knowledge. Finally, we found that institutional confidence also played an important role. First, it was positively correlated to both perceived and actual knowledge of safety measures. Second, it mediated the effects of place attachment on perceived knowledge. Taken together, the present results underline the importance of studying the illusion or feeling of control at both the individual (perceived knowledge) and institutional (institutional confidence) levels, to figure out the contradictory relations to risk.
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Contributor : Raquel Bertoldo Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Sunday, January 22, 2017 - 8:00:44 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 4, 2022 - 5:00:01 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01443213, version 1


Alexia Lopez, Alexandra Schleyer-Lindenmann, Raquel Bertoldo, Isabelle Régner. Place attachment, knowledge and institutional trust in the relations to risk. Society for Risk Analysis - Europe, Bath University, Jun 2016, Bath, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01443213⟩



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