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Hurricane evacuation behavior in domestic and international college students: The influences of environmental familiarity, expressed hurricane evacuation, and personal experience

Xueqin Elaine He, MS, John P. Tiefenbacher, PhD, Eric L. Samson, MSIS


This study examines the cultural variation of risk perception and attitudes toward emergency evacuation. Although evacuation behavior is a direct consequence of perceived risk, few attempts have been made to consider the cross-cultural differences of evacuation behavior. This article compares domestic American and international university students’ familiarity with their residential environments, their expressions of intent to evacuate in advance of hurricanes of varying strength, and their personal experiences with hurricanes and evacuations by examining related variables. Logistic regression was used to analyze the 2007 survey data. Results indicate that international students are more familiar with their residential risk conditions than domestic students. Environmental familiarity correlates positively with students’ certainty of future evacuations. The expressed likelihood of evacuation under voluntary order also correlates positively with international and domestic students’ certainty of future hurricane evacuation. Past disaster and evacuation experiences contribute to international students’ certainty about future responses, but do not affect those of domestic students. Experiences with false alarms determine domestic students’ certainty more than international students’ future behaviors. Evacuation experiences associated with Hurricane Rita, 2005, increased all students’ certainty of future hurricane evacuation.


university students, hurricane evacuation, cross-cultural comparison

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