Researching natural disaster preparedness through health behavioral change models


  • Asnarulkhadi Abu Samah, PhD
  • Zeinab Zaremohzzabieh, PhD
  • Hayrol Azril Mohamed Shaffril, PhD
  • Jeffrey Lawrence D’Silva, PhD
  • Syafila Kamarudin, MA, PhD Candidate



natural disaster, disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction, health behavioral change models


There have been an increasing number of studies conducted on community preparedness, particularly on changing individual health behaviors in ways that minimizes individual risk to cope with the stress of a natural disaster. A variety of behavioral change theories and models used by disaster academics scrutinize the manner in which individual behavior is sought and transformed into disaster preparedness. This reflects the lack of knowledge about how these models identify certain behaviors regarding natural disaster preparation. This article seeks to address this lack of knowledge. It presents a set of health behavioral change models that can be used by scholars to comprehend variation in the nature and extent of individual disaster preparedness. The purpose of this study is to provide a review of the existing models on the subject, and also to present a comparative analysis of the models that may contribute to ways of understanding the investigation on natural disaster preparedness behaviors.

Author Biographies

Asnarulkhadi Abu Samah, PhD

Director, Institute for Social Science Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Zeinab Zaremohzzabieh, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Social Science Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Hayrol Azril Mohamed Shaffril, PhD

Research Officer, Institute for Social Science Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Jeffrey Lawrence D’Silva, PhD

Research Officer, Institute for Social Science Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Syafila Kamarudin, MA, PhD Candidate

Institute for Social Science Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia


Tselios V, Tompkins EL: What causes nations to recover from disasters? An inquiry into the role of wealth, income inequality, and social welfare provisioning. Int J Disaster Risk Reduct. 2019; 33: 162-180.

EM-DAT: International Disaster Database. Brussels, Belgium: Universite Catholique de Louvain, The OFDA/CRED, 2016. Available at http://

Hoffmann R, Muttarak R: Learn from the past, prepare for the future: Impacts of education and experience on disaster preparedness in the Philippines and Thailand. World Dev. 2017; 96: 32-51.

Xu D, Peng L, Liu S, et al.: Influences of risk perception and sense of place on landslide disaster preparedness in southwestern China. Int J Disaster Risk Sci. 2018; 9(2): 1-14.

Najafi M, Ardalan A, Akbarisari A, et al.: The theory of planned behavior and disaster preparedness. PLoS Curr Disasters. 2017; 9: 1-16.

Linnemayr S, O’Hanlon C, Uscher-Pines L, et al.: Using insights from behavioral economics to strengthen disaster preparedness and response. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2016; 10(5): 768-774.

Ejeta LT, Ardalan A, Paton D: Application of behavioral theories to disaster and emergency health preparedness: A systematic review. PLoS Curr Disasters. 2015; 7: 1-28. doi:10.1371/currents.dis.31a8995ced321301466db400f1357829.

Disaster Preparedness Training Programme: Introduction to Disaster Preparedness. Geneva, Switzerland: International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies, 2000: 1-20. Available at Accessed April 28, 2018.

Sutton J, Tierney K: Disaster Preparedness: Concepts, Guidance, and Research. Sebastopol, CA: Fritz Institute, 2006.

Lemyre L O’Sullivan T: Enhancing community resilience: A matter of multi-level framework, mixed methods, and multi-sectoral tools. In: Kapucu N, Hawkins CV, Rivera FI (eds.): Disaster Resiliency: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013: 271-290.

Morrissey S, Reser J: Evaluating the effectiveness of psychological preparedness advice in community cyclone preparedness materials. Aust J Emerg Manag. 2003; 18(2): 46-61.

Blake D, Marlowe J, Johnston D: Get prepared: Discourse for the privileged? Int J Disaster Risk Reduct. 2017; 25: 283-288.

Joyce CI: Public Awareness Campaigns as Effective Means to Reduce Disaster Risk: A Case Study of the Fire and Flood Campaign in the Western Cape. 2011. Master Thesis. University of the Free State.

Romo-Murphy ES: Evaluating disaster preparedness in West Sumatra through media. Planet@ Risk. 2013; 1(1): 53-56.

Anushka S, Amy D, Georgina GG, et al.: Perceptions of cyclone preparedness: Assessing the role of individual adaptive capacity and social capital in the Wet Tropics, Australia. Sustainability. 2018; 10(4): 1165.

Miller L: Family therapy of terroristic trauma: Psychological syndromes and treatment strategies. Am J Family Ther. 2003; 31(4): 257-280.

Donovan RJ, Henley N: Social marketing: Principles and practice. SMQ. 2003; 10(1): 31-34.

Godin G: Social-cognitive models. In: Dishman RK (ed.): Advances in Exercise Adherence. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, 1994.

Norman P, Conner M: Predicting health-check attendance among prior attenders and nonattenders: The role of prior behavior in the theory of planned behavior. J Appl Soc Psychol. 1996; 26(11): 1010-1026.

Michie S, Johnston M, Francis J, et al.: From theory to intervention: Mapping theoretically derived behavioural determinants to behaviour change techniques. Appl Psychol. 2008; 57(4): 660-680.

Ajzen I: The theory of planned behavior. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process. 1991; 50(2): 179-211. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T.

Bandura A: Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986.

Prochaska JO: Self-changers versus therapy changers versus Schachter. Am Psychol. 1983; 38(7): 853-854.

Ajzen I, Fishbein M: Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behaviour. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980.

Oreg S, Katz-Gerro T: Predicting proenvironmental behavior cross-nationally: Values, the theory of planned behavior, and valuebelief-norm theory. Environ Behav. 2006; 38(4): 462-483.

Fishbein M, Ajzen I: Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. J Bus Ventur. 1977; 5(1): 177-189.

Abrahamse W, Steg L: Factors related to household energy use and intention to reduce it: The role of psychological and socio-demographic variables. Hum Ecol Rev. 2011; 18(1): 30-40.

DiClemente RJ, Salazar LF, Crosby RA: Evaluating Theory-Based Public Health Programs: Linking Principles to Practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2013.

Fishbein M, Ajzen I: Predicting and Changing Behavior: The Reasoned Action Approach. New York, NY: Psychology Press, 2010.

Allen, C: Influences on Emergency Preparedness Behaviors: A Systematic Review. 2016. Master Thesis. Concordia University.

Phetvaroon K: Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior to Select a Destination after a Crisis: A Case Study of Phuket, Thailand. 2006. PhD dissertation. Oklahoma State University.

Baranowski T, Perry CL, Parcel GS: How individuals, environments, and health behavior interact. In: Glanz K, Rimer BK, Lewis FM (eds.): Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice. 3rd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2002: 165-184.

Paton D, Smith L, Johnston D: When good intentions turn bad: Promoting natural hazard preparedness. Aust J Emerg Manag. 2005; 20(1): 25.

Solberg C, Rossetto T, Joffe H: The social psychology of seismic hazard adjustment: Re-evaluating the international literature. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci. 2010; 10(8): 1663-1677.

Paton D: Disaster preparedness: A social-cognitive perspective. Disaster Prev Manag. 2003; 12(3): 210-216.

Johnston D, Paton D, Crawford GL, et al.: Measuring tsunami preparedness in coastal Washington, United States. Nat Hazards. 2005; 35(1): 173-184.

Moon, MK: Socially Vulnerable Populations and the Hurricane Preparation Decision Process. 2010. PhD dissertation. University of Florida.

Prochaska JO, DiClemente CC: Transtheoretical therapy: Toward a more integrative model of change. Psychotherapy. 1982; 19(3): 276-288.

McCabe OL, DiClemente CC, Links JM: Applying behavioral science to workforce challenges in the public health emergency preparedness system. Am J Disaster Med. 2012; 7(2): 155-166.

Thomas TN, Sobelson RK, Wigington CJ, et al.: Applying instructional design strategies and behavior theory to household disaster preparedness training. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2018; 24(1): 16-25.

Prochaska JO, DiClemente CC: Stage of change in the modification of problem behaviors. In: Hersen M, Eisler RM, Miller PM (eds.): Progress in Behavior Modification. Sycamore, IL: Sycamore Publishing, 1992: 184-214.

Citizen Corps: Citizen Preparedness Review: Community Resilience through Civic Responsibility and Self-Reliance. USA: Citizen Corps, 2006: 1-15.

Macro ORC: Citizen Corps Personal Behavior Change Model for disaster preparedness. Citiz Prep Rev. 2006; 4-17.

Sutton S: Stage theories of health behaviour. In: Conner M, Norman P (eds.): Predicting Health Behaviour: Research and Practice with Social Cognition Models. 2nd ed. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 2005.

FEMA: FEMA Encourages Personal Preparedness as Storm Activity Increases. USA: FEMA, 2009. Available at Accessed May 2, 2018.

Mangum CH: Assessing Mississippians’ Preparedness for Disasters Using the Citizen Corps National Survey 2009. 2010. PhD dissertation. University of Southern Mississippi.



How to Cite

Abu Samah, PhD, A., Z. Zaremohzzabieh, PhD, H. A. M. Shaffril, PhD, J. L. D’Silva, PhD, and S. Kamarudin, MA, PhD Candidate. “Researching Natural Disaster Preparedness through Health Behavioral Change Models”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 14, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 51-63, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2019.0315.