Preparedness for emergencies and disasters is imperative for public resilience. Previous studies have revealed low levels of civilian preparedness for conflicts. Classic behavioral models prove inapt in describing preparedness patterns in victimized populations chronically exposed to this threat. In an effort to expand this perspective, we hypothesized that other psychological constructs are correlated with preparedness.
A cross-sectional, Internet-based study was performed in Israel in early 2016. A sociodemographically diverse sample included 385 participants, Jews and Arabs. The tools included a preparedness index, sense of preparedness questionnaire, Trait Anxiety Inventory, Life Orientation Test, Behavioral Inhibition & Activation System scales, and ego defenses.
The results suggested that optimistic and rational individuals reported significantly higher levels of preparedness, whereas those who scored highly on the trait anxiety scale and those with a tendency to use denial coping mechanisms reported significantly lower levels of preparedness.
The findings suggest that additional constructs, other than classic threat perception components, might play a key role in governing preparedness behavior. In particular, psychological manipulation of dispositional optimism or optimistic thinking might be effective in motivating preparedness behavior. Future research should explore such innovative ways to promoting preparedness. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:451–459)
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