Natural Hazards

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 765–781

Predicting community earthquake preparedness: a cross-cultural comparison of Japan and New Zealand

  • Douglas Paton
  • Robert Bajek
  • Norio Okada
  • David McIvor
Original Paper


This paper reports on a study investigating cross-cultural equivalence in predictors of earthquake preparedness. Data were collected from Napier (New Zealand) and Kyoto (Japan). These locations were selected because they face comparable levels of seismic risk but differ with respect to their cultural characteristics. This mix of hazard similarity and cultural differences provided an opportunity to assess the degree of cross-cultural equivalence in predictors of earthquake preparedness. Cross-cultural equivalence was examined by assessing the degree to which individual hazard beliefs (outcome expectancies) and social characteristics (community participation, collective efficacy, empowerment, trust) could explain levels of hazard preparedness in each location. Structural equation modelling analyses revealed similarity in the pattern of relationships between predictor variables and intention prepare in the Napier and Kyoto data. It is argued that this provides support for the existence of some universal, cross-cultural equivalence in how hazard beliefs and social characteristics interact to predict the degree to which people adopt earthquake preparedness measures. Differences between the data sets are discussed in the context of the fundamental cultural differences between Japan and New Zealand. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.


Earthquake Community Culture Preparedness Resilience 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Paton
    • 1
  • Robert Bajek
    • 2
  • Norio Okada
    • 2
  • David McIvor
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia
  2. 2.Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems, Disaster Prevention Research InstituteKyoto UniversityGokasho, UjiJapan

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