Interpersonal communication sources and natural hazard risk perception: a case study of a rural Chinese village

Timothy Sim*, Li San Hung, Gui Wu Su, Ke Cui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This exploratory study contributes to our knowledge about the relationships between interpersonal communication sources and risk perception regarding natural hazards. Survey data (N = 186) from a small village in northwest China was used, and the correlations between eight types of interpersonal communication sources related to disaster risk reduction and the perceived severity and perceived likelihood of occurrence of eight types of natural hazards were explored. Past studies have suggested that interpersonal communication sources are more likely to influence individuals in their perceived severity of natural hazards than in their perceived likelihood of occurrence. The results of this study moderately corroborate this finding. The results indicated that different sources have different relationships to risk perception, as positive correlations were found between obtaining information via certain trained science professionals (science teachers, emergency responders, scientific experts) and certain natural hazard risk perceptions, while negative relationships were found between obtaining information via certain personal contacts (other villagers and relatives and friends) and certain natural hazard risk perceptions. However, the strength of these relationships was weak (− 0.197 ≥ r ≤ 0.245). Age showed statically significant correlations with the perceived severity of most of the natural hazards. Studies with more representative samples and controls for theoretical factors are needed to better understand how interpersonal communication sources affect individuals' natural hazard risk perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1307-1326
Number of pages20
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1


  • Information-seeking channel
  • Interpersonal
  • Natural hazards
  • Risk perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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