The Effect of Anticipated Service Interruptions on Disaster Preparedness Intentions


  • This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the first author's Ph.D. requirements. The authors thank Elaine Hatfield, Ashley E. Maynard, Kalei Kanuha, Kentaro Hayashi, Ed Chronicle, and Yen Chi Le of the University of Hawaii at Manoa for their insightful suggestions and revisions of the dissertation research that provided the information for this paper.

Lise D. Martel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Global Health, International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch, 4770 Buford Highway, MS F-60, Atlanta, GA 30341. E-mail:


This study examined the effects of anticipated service interruptions on natural disaster preparedness intentions. In a 3 × 2 × 2 factorial experiment, students were exposed to scenarios with varied levels of anticipated basic service interruption (no mention, low, high), and person-relative-to event (PrE) factors shown to affect preparedness (low, high), across 2 types of disaster (earthquake, flood). Results indicated no main or interaction effects related to type of natural disasters, significant main effects for levels of PrE and service interruption, and a significant PrE × Service Interruption interaction. Anticipated service interruption affected preparedness, regardless of level of PrE. Bringing service interruption into awareness increases willingness to prepare, suggesting that public-health efforts should include messages regarding potential interruption of services.