An analysis of the public perception of flood risk on the Belgian coast

Risk Anal. 2011 Jul;31(7):1055-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01571.x. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


In recent years, perception of flood risks has become an important topic to policy makers concerned with risk management and safety issues. Knowledge of the public risk perception is considered a crucial aspect in modern flood risk management as it steers the development of effective and efficient flood mitigation strategies. This study aimed at gaining insight into the perception of flood risks along the Belgian coast. Given the importance of the tourism industry on the Belgian coast, the survey considered both inhabitants and residential tourists. Based on actual expert's risk assessments, a high and a low risk area were selected for the study. Risk perception was assessed on the basis of scaled items regarding storm surges and coastal flood risks. In addition, various personal and residence characteristics were measured. Using multiple regression analysis, risk perception was found to be primarily influenced by actual flood risk estimates, age, gender, and experience with previous flood hazards.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Belgium
  • Disaster Planning / methods*
  • Disasters
  • Female
  • Floods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Management