Optimism Following A Tornado Disaster

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Andrew Smith Ph.D, Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: Effects of exposure to a severe weather disaster on perceived future vulnerability were assessed in college students, local residents contacted through random-digit dialing, and community residents of affected versus unaffected neighborhoods. Students and community residents reported being less vulnerable than their peers at 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year after the disaster. In Studies 1 and 2, absolute risk estimates were more optimistic with time, whereas comparative vulnerability was stable. Residents of affected neighborhoods (Study 3), surprisingly, reported less comparative vulnerability and lower “gut- level” numerical likelihood estimates at 6 months, but later their estimates resembled the unaffected residents. Likelihood estimates (10%-12%), however, exceeded the 1% risk calculated by storm experts, and gut-level versus statistical-level estimates were more optimistic. Although people believed they had approximately a 1-in-10 chance of injury from future tornadoes (i.e., an overestimate), they thought their risk was lower than peers.

Additional Information

Suls, J., Rose, J. P., Windschitl, P. D., & Smith, A. R (2013) "Optimism following a tornado disaster" Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin #39, pp.691-702 (ISSN: 0146-1672) Version of record available @ (DOI: 10.1177/0146167213477457)
Language: English
Date: 2013
risk-perception, unrealistic-optimism, natural disaster, absolute-risk, comparative-risk, social-comparison

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