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The anticipated emotional consequences of adaptive behaviour—impacts on the take-up of household flood-protection measures


  • Tim Harries


When considering householder responses to flood risk, researchers and policy makers have perhaps focused too much on the influence of risk perceptions and concerns about material costs and benefits. Using secondary analysis of survey data from UK households who had experienced flooding or who were at risk of flooding, this paper presents evidence to suggest that protective behaviour may be influenced less by material and financial considerations than by concerns about feelings of anxiety and insecurity. It also looks at the role of beliefs about protection and flooding in mediating the impacts of flood experience and suggests that experience reduces confidence in the ameliorative capacity of insurance and promotes the belief that protective measures increase anxiety about flooding. The paper concludes that more research should be carried out on the role of anticipated emotions in risk response and that policy makers and the designers of protection products should pay more attention to the emotional barriers and incentives to adaptation. Keywords: flooding, self-protection, experience, risk perception

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Harries, 2012. "The anticipated emotional consequences of adaptive behaviour—impacts on the take-up of household flood-protection measures," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(3), pages 649-668, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:3:p:649-668

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    Cited by:

    1. Carolyn Mann & S. E. Wolfe, 2016. "Risk Perceptions and Terror Management Theory: Assessing Public Responses to Urban Flooding in Toronto, Canada," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 30(8), pages 2651-2670, June.
    2. Florence Crick & Katie Jenkins & Swenja Surminski, 2016. "Strengthening insurance partnerships in the face of climate change – insights from an agent-based model of flood insurance in the UK," GRI Working Papers 241, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    3. Edmiston, Kelly D., 2017. "Financial Vulnerability and Personal Finance Outcomes of Natural Disasters," Research Working Paper RWP 17-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    4. James Porter & Suraje Dessai & Emma Tompkins, 2014. "What do we know about UK household adaptation to climate change? A systematic review," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 371-379, November.

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