Brayton Noll, Tatiana Filatova, Ariana Need
Department of Energy, Office of Science, Earth & Environmental Systems Modeling, Program Acknowledged Support: No, other Non-DOE EESM source of support
As climate change increases the probability and severity of natural hazards, the need for coordinated adaptation at all levels of society intensifies. Governmental-level adaptation measures are essential, but insufficient in the face of growing risks, necessitating complementary action from households. Apprehending the drivers of household adaptation is critical if governments are to stimulate protective behavior effectively. While past work has focused on the behavioral drivers of household adaptation, little attention has been paid to understanding the relationships between adaptation measures themselves—both previously undergone and additionally (planned) intended adaptation(s). Using survey data (N = 4,688) from four countries—the United States, China, Indonesia, and the Netherlands—we utilize protection motivation theory to account for the behavioral drivers of household adaptation to the most devastating climate-driven hazard: flooding. We analyze how past and additionally intended adaptations involving structural modification to one’s home affect household behavior. We find that both prior adaptations and additionally intended adaptation have a positive effect on intending a specific adaptation. Further, we note that once links between adaptations are accounted for, the effect that worry has on motivating specific actions, substantially lessens. This suggests that while threat appraisal is important in initially determining if households intend to adapt, it is households’ adaptive capacity that determines how. Our analysis reveals that household structural modifications may be nonmarginal. This could indicate that past action and intention to pursue one action trigger intentions for other adaptations, a finding with implications for estimating the speed and scope of household adaptation diffusion.