Skip to main content

The Earthquake Readiness Scale: The Development of a Valid and Reliable Unifactorial Measure

Abstract

Preparedness is a key dependent variable in many studies examining people’s response to disasters such as earthquakes. A feature of many studies on this issue, however, is the lack of attention given to psychometric issues when constructing measures of preparedness. With regard to earthquake preparation, for example, many studies could be greatly improved by the use of a valid and reliable measure of preparedness. This research developed such a measure that assessed both low-level preparedness, such as having an emergency kit, and high-level preparedness, such as altering home structures to mitigate damage. Studies of Wellington (New Zealand) residents using two samples totalling n=652 showed that 23 items measuring these different aspects of earthquake preparation could be combined into a reliable, valid, unifactorial scale. This brief scale should have utility in multivariate studies of earthquake preparation, either as a dependent variable, where preparation is the outcome variable of primary interest, or as one of several independent variables, where preparation and other measures predict another outcome variable.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • J. M. Cortina (1993) ArticleTitleWhat is coefficient alpha? An examination of theory and application J. Appl. Psychol. 78 98–104 Occurrence Handle10.1037/0021-9010.78.1.98

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • A. Man ParticleDe P. Simpson-Housley (1987) ArticleTitleFactors in the perception of earthquake hazard Percept. Motor Skills 64 815–820

    Google Scholar 

  • D. Dooley R. Catalano S. Mishra S. Serxner (1992) ArticleTitleEarthquake preparedness: predictors in a community survey J. Appl. Social Psychol. 22 451–470

    Google Scholar 

  • M. E. Edwards (1993) ArticleTitleSocial location and self-protective behavior: implications for earthquake preparedness Int. J. Mass Emergencies Disasters 11 293–303

    Google Scholar 

  • J. E. Farley H. D. Barlow M. S. Finklestein L. Riley (1993) ArticleTitleEarthquake hysteria, before and after: a survey and follow-up on public response to the Browning forecast Int. J. Mass Emergencies Disasters 11 305–322

    Google Scholar 

  • J. Hattie (1985) ArticleTitleMethodology review: assessing unidimensionality of tests and items Appl. Psychol. Meas. 9 139–164

    Google Scholar 

  • H. Hirose (1986) ArticleTitleThe psychological impact of the Tokai earthquake prediction: individual’s responses and the mass media coverage Jpn. Psychol. Res. 26 64–76

    Google Scholar 

  • H. Hirose T. Ishizuka (1983) ArticleTitleCausal analysis of earthquake concern and preparing behavior in the North Izu Peninsula Jpn. Psychol. Res. 25 103–111

    Google Scholar 

  • F. R. Hurnen (1997) Perceived Damage Preventability, Knowledge, and Preparation for Earthquakes Victoria University of Wellington Wellington

    Google Scholar 

  • Hurnen, F. R. and McClure, J.: 1997, The effect of increased earthquake knowledge on perceived preventability of earthquake damage. Aust. J. Disaster Trauma Stud. 1, Massey University, New Zealand, http://www.massey.ac.nz/-trauma

  • E. L. Jackson (1981) ArticleTitleResponse to earthquake hazard: the West Coast of North America Environ. Behav. 14 387–416

    Google Scholar 

  • E. L. Jackson T. Mukerjee (1974) Human adjustment to the earthquake hazard in San Francisco, California G. F. White (Eds) Natural Hazards: Local, National and Global Oxford University Press New York 160–166

    Google Scholar 

  • J. Jensen M. Spittal S. Crichton S. Sathyandra V. Krishnan (2002) The Direct Measurement of Living Standards: The New Zealand ELSI Scale Ministry of Social Development Wellington

    Google Scholar 

  • K. J. Kiecolt J. M. Nigg (1982) ArticleTitleMobility and perceptions of a hazardous environment Environ. Behav. 14 131–154

    Google Scholar 

  • J. M. Kishton K. F. Widaman (1994) ArticleTitleUnidimensional versus domain representative parceling of questionnaire items: an empirical example Educ. Psychol. Meas. 54 757–765

    Google Scholar 

  • M. K. Lindell R. W. Perry (2000) ArticleTitleHousehold adjustment to earthquake hazard: a review of research Environ. Behav. 32 461–501 Occurrence Handle10.1177/00139160021972621

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • J. McClure F. Walkey M. Allen (1999) ArticleTitleWhen earthquake damage is seen as preventable: attributions, locus of control and attitudes to risk Appl. Psychol. Int. Rev. 48 239–256 Occurrence Handle10.1080/026999499377637

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McGeary, J.: August 30, 1999, Buried alive, Time 16–21

  • D. Mileti J. D. Darlington (1997) ArticleTitleThe role of searching in shaping reactions to earthquake risk information Soc. Probl. 44 89–103

    Google Scholar 

  • D. Mileti C. Fitzpatrick (1992) ArticleTitleThe causal sequence of risk communication in the Parkfield earthquake prediction experiment Risk Anal. 12 393–400 Occurrence Handle10.1111/j.1539-6924.1992.tb00691.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mileti, D., Fitzpatrick, C.: 1993, The great earthquake experiment: Risk communication and public action. Boulder, CO: Westview

  • D. Mileti P. W. O’Brien (1992) ArticleTitleWarnings during disasters: normalizing communicating risk Soc. Probl. 38 40–57

    Google Scholar 

  • J. P. Mulilis R. Lippa (1990) ArticleTitleBehavioral change in earthquake preparedness due to negative threat appeals: a test of protection motivation theory J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 20 619–638

    Google Scholar 

  • J. P. Mulilis T. S. Duval K. Bovalino (2000) ArticleTitleTornado preparedness of students, non-student renters, and non-student owners: issues of PrE theory J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 30 1310–1329

    Google Scholar 

  • J. P. Mulilis T. S. Duval R. Lippa (1990) ArticleTitleThe effects of a large destructive local earthquake on earthquake preparedness as assessed by the Earthquake Preparedness Scale Nat. Hazards 3 357–371 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF00124393

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • L. A. Russell J. D. Goltz L. B. Bourque (1995) ArticleTitlePreparedness and hazard mitigation actions before and after two earthquakes Environ. Behav. 27 744–770

    Google Scholar 

  • N. Schmitt (1996) ArticleTitleUses and abuses of coefficient alpha Psychol. Assess. 8 350–353 Occurrence Handle10.1037/1040-3590.8.4.350

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • P. S. Showalter (1993) ArticleTitlePrognostication of doom: an earthquake prediction’s effect on four small communities Int. J. Mass Emergencies Disasters 11 279–292

    Google Scholar 

  • R. Sullivan D. A. Mustart J. S. Galehouse (1977) ArticleTitleLiving in earthquake country Calif. Geol. 3 3–8

    Google Scholar 

  • R. H. Turner J. M. Nigg D. H. Paz (1986) Waiting for Disaster: Earthquake Watch in California University of California Press Los Angeles

    Google Scholar 

  • N. Weinstein J. E. Lyon A. J. Rothman C. L. Cuite (2000) ArticleTitlePreoccupation and affect as predictors of protective action following natural disaster Brit. J. Health Psychol. 5 351–363 Occurrence Handle10.1348/135910700168973

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Matthew J. Spittal.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Spittal, M.J., Walkey, F.H., McClure, J. et al. The Earthquake Readiness Scale: The Development of a Valid and Reliable Unifactorial Measure. Nat Hazards 39, 15–29 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-005-2369-9

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-005-2369-9

Key words

  • earthquake readiness measure
  • mitigation preparedness
  • calibration
  • scale scores