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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-407
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-407
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 14 Jan 2019

Research article | 14 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Flash floods versus river floods – a comparison of psychological impacts and implications for precautionary behaviour

Jonas Laudan1, Gert Zöller2, and Annegret H. Thieken1 Jonas Laudan et al.
  • 1University of Potsdam, Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24–25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2University of Potsdam, Institute of Mathematics, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24–25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. River floods are among the most damaging natural disasters that occur frequently in Germany, causing high economic losses and affecting many residents. In 2016, several Southern German municipalities were hit by flash floods after heavy rainfalls which have been unexpectedly severe and led to total economic losses of EUR 2.6 bn. This study investigates the psychological impacts of river floods and compares them to the impacts of flash floods, using computer-aided telephone interviews that were conducted among flood affected households 8 to 9 months in the aftermath of the events. By applying Bayesian statistics and negative binomial regressions, the suitability of psychological indicators to predict the precaution motivation of individuals is analysed. The results show that not the particular flood type, but rather the severity and local impact of the event is crucial for different and potentially negative impacts on mental health. Moreover, it is revealed that the derived psychological indicators coping appraisal, threat appraisal, burden and evasion only show a limited usefulness for predictions of the individual precaution motivation, which is displayed by a generally low explanation power and non-significant results. Further research is needed to better address established psychological assessment procedures and to focus on alternative data sources regarding floods and the connected precaution motivation of affected residents.

Jonas Laudan et al.
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Short summary
The paper focuses on psychological impacts of river floods and flash floods on affected individuals. Since the connection between psychological characteristics and protection motivation is not yet fully understood, potential coherences are investigated with regard to both flood types. As a main result, the frequency of remembering an event seems to be positively connected to a greater willingness to protect oneself, especially if affected by a weaker flood event.
The paper focuses on psychological impacts of river floods and flash floods on affected...
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