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Evacuation from Natural Disasters: A Systematic Review of the Literature

  • Author(s): Thompson, RR
  • Garfin, DR
  • Silver, RC
  • et al.
Abstract

Research on evacuation from natural disasters has been published across the peer-reviewed literature among several disparate disciplinary outlets and has suggested a wide variety of predictors of evacuation behavior. We conducted a systematic review to summarize and evaluate the current literature on demographic, storm-related, and psychosocial correlates of natural disaster evacuation behavior. Eighty-three eligible papers utilizing 83 independent samples were identified. Risk perception was a consistent positive predictor of evacuation, as were several demographic indicators, prior evacuation behavior, and having an evacuation plan. The influence of prior experiences, self-efficacy, personality, and links between expected and actual behavior were examined less frequently. Prospective, longitudinal designs are relatively uncommon. Although difficult to conduct in postdisaster settings, more prospective, methodologically rigorous studies would bolster inferences. Results synthesize the current body of literature on evacuation behavior and can help inform the design of more effective predisaster evacuation warnings and procedures.

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