The protective action decision model: theoretical modifications and additional evidence

Risk Anal. 2012 Apr;32(4):616-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01647.x. Epub 2011 Jun 20.


The Protective Action Decision Model (PADM) is a multistage model that is based on findings from research on people's responses to environmental hazards and disasters. The PADM integrates the processing of information derived from social and environmental cues with messages that social sources transmit through communication channels to those at risk. The PADM identifies three critical predecision processes (reception, attention, and comprehension of warnings or exposure, attention, and interpretation of environmental/social cues)--that precede all further processing. The revised model identifies three core perceptions--threat perceptions, protective action perceptions, and stakeholder perceptions--that form the basis for decisions about how to respond to an imminent or long-term threat. The outcome of the protective action decision-making process, together with situational facilitators and impediments, produces a behavioral response. In addition to describing the revised model and the research on which it is based, this article describes three applications (development of risk communication programs, evacuation modeling, and adoption of long-term hazard adjustments) and identifies some of the research needed to address unresolved issues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Disasters* / prevention & control
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Humans
  • Perception
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk*


  • Hazardous Substances