Detailed insights into the influence of flood-coping appraisals on mitigation behaviour

P. Bubeck, W.J.W. Botzen, H. Kreibich, J.C.J.H. Aerts

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Insights into flood mitigation behaviour are important because of the ongoing shift to risk-based flood management approaches in Europe and worldwide, which envisage a contribution from flood-prone households to risk reduction. The recent literature on factors that influence flood mitigation behaviour indicates that flood-coping appraisal is an important variable to understand and explain flood mitigation behaviour. Coping appraisal originates from Protection Motivation Theory (PMT), and refers to the cognitive process that people undergo when evaluating their own ability to avoid a certain risk. However, the empirical literature on the importance of coping appraisal is still scarce, and, in particular, little is known about the independent influence of the three single components of coping appraisal on precautionary behaviour: namely, response efficacy, self-efficacy, and response cost. This study presents the results of a recent survey among 752 flood-prone households along the river Rhine in order to provide detailed insights into the influence of the components of flood-coping appraisal on four different types of flood mitigation behaviour: structural building measures, adapted building use, the deployment of flood barriers, and the purchase of flood insurance. The results confirm that flood-coping appraisal is an important variable in terms of precautionary behaviour. In particular, both response efficacy and self-efficacy contribute to the models which explain the four different types of flood-mitigation behaviour. Based on these findings, it is concluded that risk communication should focus more strongly on the potential of flood-mitigation measures to effectively reduce or avoid flood damage, as well as on information about how to implement such measures in practice. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1327-1338
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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