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Citizens’ Perception of Disaster Risk and the Influencing Factors

Sang-Young ShinㆍKwon-Joong ChohㆍHyeon-Jung NamㆍSang-Kyun Kim

Recently, citizens’ sense of safety in addition to objective safety condition has drawn policy attentions as citizenship gets mature and local government representative gets more responsive to citizens’ voices. In order for citizens to feel more sense of safety, evidence-based policies are necessary by reflecting who fears what disasters and accidents, and what factors affect such risk perception.

This study analyzes citizens’ perception of disaster risk and the influencing factors to draw policy implications for sense of safety and safety consciousness in Seoul.

First, this study reviews concepts and theories of risk perception. Risk perception is the subjective judgement that people make about the characteristics and severity of a risk. It is contrast to objective or real risk conditions. There are numerous approaches and theories of risk perception including psychology, sociology, and interdisciplinary approaches.

Second, with a questionnaire survey to 1,000 respondents, this study analyzes citizens’ perception characteristics of disaster risk and the influencing factors in Seoul. After analyzing overall risk perception and the influencing factors, it analyzes characteristics of risk perception of 15 disaster and accident types. This part also analyzes relationships between objective risk characteristics and subjective risk perception, and impacts of mass media on risk perception.

Finally, this study draws policy implications from the analyses and suggests some policy directions in terms of risk perception and safety consciousness. After identifying priority disaster types and demographic groups in terms of risk perception, it suggests policy directions for more sense of safety and safety consciousness.