Adaptation to flood risk by households and small businesses

Harries, Timothy (2022) Adaptation to flood risk by households and small businesses. In: McGee, Tara K. and Penning-Rowsell, Edmund C., (eds.) Routledge handbook of environmental hazards and society. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 289-301. (Routledge Environment and Sustainability Handbooks) ISBN 9780367427146


Many of those who live or work in flood risk areas take no practical adaptive steps to reduce the vulnerability of their homes or businesses. This chapter examines the research literature to determine why this is so. It confirms the importance of perceived self-efficacy, but finds no conclusive evidence for the oft-asserted relationship between adaptation and risk perception, and concludes that the impact of flood experience on adaptation is relatively weak. The chapter argues for improvements to the behavioural change model most often applied to flood risk adaptation, Behaviour Motivation Theory, and reasons that an overreliance on this model has led to the neglect of important physical, social and emotional influences on adaptation to flood risk.

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