The public's preparedness: Self-reliance, flashbulb memories, and conservative values

Michael R. Greenberg, Susannah Dyen, Stacey Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives. We surveyed how many US residents engaged in 6 preparedness activities and measured the relationship between engagement and personal experience in hazard events, flashbulb memories of major events, self-reliance, and other indicators of a conservative philosophy. Methods. We used random digit dialing for national landline (75%) and cell phone (25%) surveys of 1930 US residents from July 6, 2011, to September 9, 2011; 1080 of the sample lived near 6 US Department of Energy nuclear waste management facilities and 850 were a national random sample. Results. The median respondent engaged in 3 of the 6 activities; those who disproportionately engaged in 4 or more had experienced a hazard event, had distressing and strong flashbulb memories of major hazard events, and had strong feelings about the need for greater self-reliance. The results for the national and US Department of Energy site-specific surveys were almost identical. Conclusions. A cadre of US residents are disproportionately engaged in disaster preparedness, and they typically have stronger negative memories of past disasters and tend to be self-reliant. How their efforts can or should be integrated into local preparedness efforts is unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e85-e91
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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