This research examined public perceptions of risk, behavioral intentions in the event of the M9 Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake and tsunami on the Oregon Coast, and factors that may influence both attitudes and intentions. A household survey was conducted to understand public opinion in Seaside, Oregon, which is located within the impact radius of the CSZ earthquakes and tsunamis. Mediation analysis was applied to evaluate relationships between the three levels of variables to examine ways in which human decision-making occurs under conditions of risk.
Research results found a positive association between risk perception and evacuation behavioral intention, suggesting that higher risk perception motivates people to be proactive and adopt recommended actions of immediate evacuation in a local tsunami emergency. In addition, relying on mediation analysis, the study found that cognitive constructs of response efficacy and self-efficacy played a mediating role between socio-environmental factors and behavioral intention, supporting arguments advocated by theories of cognition that attitudes translate outside influences into behavioral intentions. Older individuals were identified as vulnerable to a local tsunami risk due to their lower levels of risk perception, self-efficacy, and physical mobility capacities.