Place attachment, distress, risk perception and coping in a case of earthquakes in the Netherlands

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    In the Netherlands, the extraction of natural gas from the ground has led to soil subsidence and the occurrence of earthquakes. These earthquakes cause physical damage to buildings and give rise to psychological distress. Research on the impact of natural hazards, such as earthquakes, has shown that there is a complicated relationship between place attachment, perceived risk and coping strategies. The current study, performed in the earthquake area, provides further insight into this relationship, with a focus on place attachment. The study examines whether place attachment is related to (1) the damage intensity of the neighbourhood, (2) socio-demographic characteristics, (3) cognitive and emotional characteristics and (4) coping strategies. The results show that stronger place attachment is related to higher age, lower education and place of origin in the region. Furthermore, respondents with strong place attachment more frequently indicated to be frightened by the multiple earthquakes and to expect damage to their dwelling as a consequence of future earthquakes. Nevertheless, these respondents less frequently intended to relocate than respondents with weaker place attachment. This result indicates that strong place attachment might diminish the chances of moving out despite the awareness of risk and the emotional response to the earthquake hazard.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)407-427
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
    Volume35 (2020)
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Sep 2019


    • Earthquakes
    • Intention to move
    • Place attachment
    • Psychological distress
    • Risk perception

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