Values and Risk Perceptions: A Cross-Cultural Examination

Authors

  • Gülbanu Kaptan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
      Gülbanu Kaptan, Newcastle University, Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK; gulbanu.kaptan@newcastle.ac.uk.
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    • At the time of this research was a PhD student at the Faculty of Business Administration, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey.

  • Shoshana Shiloh,

    1. Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
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  • Dilek Önkal

    1. Faculty of Business Administration, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey.
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Gülbanu Kaptan, Newcastle University, Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK; gulbanu.kaptan@newcastle.ac.uk.

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between values and risk perceptions regarding terror attacks. The participants in the study are university students from Turkey (n = 536) and Israel (n = 298). Schwartz value theory (1992, 1994) is applied to conceptualize and measure values. Cognitive (perceived likelihood and perceived severity) and emotional (fear, helplessness, anger, distress, insecurity, hopelessness, sadness, and anxiety) responses about the potential of (i) being personally exposed to a terror attack, and (ii) a terror attack that may occur in one's country are assessed to measure risk perceptions. Comparison of the two groups suggests that the Turkish participants are significantly more emotional about terror risks than the Israeli respondents. Both groups perceive the risk of a terror attack that may occur in their country more likely than the risk of being personally exposed to a terror attack. No significant differences are found in emotional representations and perceived severity ratings regarding these risks. Results provide support for the existence of a link between values and risk perceptions of terror attacks. In both countries, self-direction values are negatively related to emotional representations, whereas security values are positively correlated with emotions; hedonism and stimulation values are negatively related to perceived likelihood. Current findings are discussed in relation to previous results, theoretical approaches (the social amplification of risk framework and cultural theory of risk), and practical implications (increasing community support for a course of action, training programs for risk communicators).

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