Natural Hazards

, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 1307–1326 | Cite as

Interpersonal communication sources and natural hazard risk perception: a case study of a rural Chinese village

  • Timothy SimEmail author
  • Li-San Hung
  • Gui-Wu Su
  • Ke Cui
Original Paper


This exploratory study contributes to our knowledge about the relationships between interpersonal communication sources and risk perception regarding natural hazards. Survey data (N = 186) from a small village in northwest China was used, and the correlations between eight types of interpersonal communication sources related to disaster risk reduction and the perceived severity and perceived likelihood of occurrence of eight types of natural hazards were explored. Past studies have suggested that interpersonal communication sources are more likely to influence individuals in their perceived severity of natural hazards than in their perceived likelihood of occurrence. The results of this study moderately corroborate this finding. The results indicated that different sources have different relationships to risk perception, as positive correlations were found between obtaining information via certain trained science professionals (science teachers, emergency responders, scientific experts) and certain natural hazard risk perceptions, while negative relationships were found between obtaining information via certain personal contacts (other villagers and relatives and friends) and certain natural hazard risk perceptions. However, the strength of these relationships was weak (− 0.197 ≥ r ≤  0.245). Age showed statically significant correlations with the perceived severity of most of the natural hazards. Studies with more representative samples and controls for theoretical factors are needed to better understand how interpersonal communication sources affect individuals' natural hazard risk perceptions.


Risk perception Natural hazards Interpersonal Information-seeking channel 



This research was supported by the project “Pan-participatory Assessment and Governance of Earthquake Risks in the Ordos Area (PAGER-O)” (National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant No. is 41661134013). The project belongs to a UK–China Collaboration programme entitled “Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards in Earthquake-Prone regions in China” which is jointly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) of the UK, and by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Social Sciences/WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health ServicesHong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloon, Hong KongChina
  2. 2.National Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Institute of Geology, China Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  4. 4.School of Public AdministrationSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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