Insurance statistics have indicated a greater trend towards more frequent, more diverse and more destructive disasters (Munich Re 2012). However, not much research have been undertaken to understand how individuals change their behaviour after such events to prevent and limit the adverse effects of future recurrence. The main contribution of this theory is to address this major gap in our current understanding of how individuals engage in resilient behavioural changes in the aftermath of extreme events. Through the review of existing contributions in understanding of the individual decision-making process to undergo behavioural changes, this thesis answer the question of why some people put up resilient behaviours while others do not.
This thesis looks at the resilient behaviours which refer to individuals’ ability to recover after undergoing significant adversity (Linnenluecke and Griffiths 2010). Previous studies on disasters and extreme events have identified two main predictors of behavioural changes after adverse events, emotional distress and perceived risk. It was, therefore in this thesis, hypothesised that heightened emotional distress and perceived risk experienced will result in undertaking of resilient behaviour after an extreme event. The social cognitive theory serves as the mechanism driving the performance of resilient behaviours. Social cognitive theory suggests that a relationship exists among the characteristics of humans, their circumstances and their behaviour (Torabi and Seo 2004). And that when individuals’ emotions and perceptions interact with the distressing events it will trigger subsequent behavioural responses.
Overall, mixed results were generated from the analyses indicating that people do not always undertake actions to protect themselves despite being aware of the potential risks. Specifically in this study, it was found that individuals were more prone to taking resilient actions that do not require expending any additional resources to achieve. The key finding of this study indicates that overall concern for future extreme events is rather low, and people do not seem likely to be planning ahead and be prepared for these unexpected events.