This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Bridging the gap between Academic Research and Public Perception of Natural Hazard Risk




King, Robin

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Natural Hazards are a common but regularly misunderstood problem in our world. Researchers have training to understand the processes and risks of natural hazards to better understand how climate related hazards develop and where the heaviest impacts occur. However, the general public often lacks the knowledge or training necessary be able to fully understand natural hazard risk. This leads to a gap of information between academic research and public perceptions of climate related hazards. By measuring and quantifying risk perception, public safety information and educational initiatives can be better tailored to populations, particularly transient populations, such as that of a public university. The primary goal of this study is to assess the perceptions and knowledge of climate related risks using a vulnerable population like that of Auburn University. In the future, researchers can use this perception of risk to inform administration and campus safety programs of vulnerable areas in climate related risk education. While transient populations may not adequately understand a place’s associated risks, education and training programs can help to mitigate potential impacts. To meet this goal a survey has been disseminated to gauge the perception of climate related risks of Auburn University students. Through analysis of the survey results, it was found that there exists a variation in the perception of risk due to various natural hazards as a consequence of experience, past natural hazard experiences, previous hazard information, region and country of origin, length of time living in Auburn, and education.