Predictors Associated with Health-Related Heat Risk Perception of Urban Citizens in Germany

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 30;17(3):874. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17030874.


The rising probability of extremely high temperatures and an increasing number of consecutive hot days caused by climate change-combined with the impact of these high temperatures on human health-is widely discussed in the literature. There are calls for the development of heatwave adaptation measures by governmental and scientific institutions. In this research, the predictors of health-related heat risk perception of urban citizens in Augsburg, Germany, were investigated. An online survey was conducted with 468 citizens, asking about their heat risk perception, knowledge about heat risks, and demographic data and health information. Statistical methods (Spearman correlation, unpaired t-test, ANOVA and multiple regression) were used to determine which factors were significant and relevant. The results show that the knowledge of heat risks, heat risk sensitivity and an external locus of control are the most important factors for heat risk perception. The health implication score and chronic disease show significant effects in descriptive statistics. Furthermore, younger people showed the highest heat risk perception of all age groups. Surprisingly, income, education, living alone and gender did not play a role in heat risk perception. The findings imply a need for better and intensified heat risk communication in urban areas-especially among elderly people-and thus are important for creating acceptance towards heat wave risks, which is a prerequisite of willingness to adapt.

Keywords: adaptation; climate change; health risks; heat risk perception; heat wave; knowledge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cities
  • Climate Change
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Young Adult