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Keywords:

  • Floods;
  • hazard adjustment;
  • hurricanes;
  • risk perception;
  • toxic chemicals

This study proposed and tested a multistage model of household response to three hazards—flood, hurricane, and toxic chemical release—in Harris County Texas. The model, which extends Lindell and Perry's (1992, 2004) Protective Action Decision Model, proposed a basic causal chain from hazard proximity through hazard experience and perceived personal risk to expectations of continued residence in the home and adoption of household hazard adjustments. Data from 321 households generally supported the model, but the mediating effects of hazard experience and perceived personal risk were partial rather than complete. In addition, the data suggested that four demographic variables—gender, age, income, and ethnicity—affect the basic causal chain at different points.