College of Business (Strome)


School of Public Service

Graduate Level


Graduate Program/Concentration

Public Administration and Policy

Publication Date





Despite research findings that show the benefits of being prepared for hazard events, studies on hazard preparedness report that individuals, communities, and businesses are often poorly prepared. Several studies have determined that various factors and contexts (individual, environmental, social), social messaging, social influences, and information sources can play an important role in determining how a community prepares for and responds to a hazard (Wachinger et al., 2013; Paton & McClure, 2013; Lindell & Perry, 2012; Paton, 2007).

Higher levels of trust may lead to desired protective behaviors while lower levels may lead to low levels of engagement and compliance in communities. The relationship between trust and community factors and contexts in hazard preparedness has not been widely examined yet, and few studies have evaluated how contexts and trust impact preparedness in hazard-prone coastal areas.

Using an integrative research design, this study seeks to fill this research gap via an author-developed Community Hazard Preparedness conceptual framework. The framework will integrate risk management and communication, behavioral public policy, and community development elements to further the understanding of how community contexts and influences impact propensity to take protective actions.

This study will investigate data from the 2020 COVID-19 Evacuation and Sheltering Risk Perception Study (N = 2,200) and the 2020 and 2021 Life in Hampton Roads survey in Hampton Roads, Virginia (N= 1,105 and 796 respectively). It will also investigate focus group data from civil authorities and residents in the greater Hampton Roads area. This study aims to answer these focal research questions: What is the relationship between community contexts and social trust in evacuation and vaccination decisions? How does social trust impact Covid-19 and flooding risk perceptions and self-protective actions?


Hazard preparedness, trust, community contexts, influences, protective action, risk communication


Emergency and Disaster Management



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Trust and Community Contexts: An Integrative Study of Hazard Preparedness Influences in Hampton Roads, Virginia