Major accident prevention decision-making: A large-scale survey-based analysis

K. van Nunen, Genserik Reniers, K Ponnet, V Cozzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Decision-making under risk and uncertainty is not straightforward. This paper investigates how people make decisions when they need to choose between prevention and production investments and the decision involves risks and uncertainties that could have major negative consequences. A questionnaire was conducted among 405 students at the University of Antwerp, in Belgium. With regard to decision-making under risk, the findings reveal that the respondents behaved in a more risk-averse manner than predicted by the theory of expected values. Concerning decision-making under uncertainty, the respondents also displayed more risk-averse decision-making behaviour than anticipated, especially under circumstances of complete uncertainty. The study also shows that men are more likely to behave in a more risk-seeking manner than women are, and that people with a high intuitive thinking style are less risk-averse than people with a low intuitive thinking style. Furthermore, people with a high rational thinking style are more risk-averse than people with a low rational thinking style, and respondents with a high sensation-seeking style make decisions in a more risk-seeking way than respondents with a low sensation-seeking style.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-350
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Decision-making
  • Major accident prevention
  • Risk
  • Uncertainty
  • Risk acceptance criteria


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