Vested interest: developing scales for assessing flooding preparedness

Bradley Adame (Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)
Claude H Miller (Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 6 June 2016



The purpose of this paper is to report research testing scales developed from a combination of vested interest (VI) theory and the extended parallel process model of fear appeals. The scales were created to measure variables specified by an expanded model of VI: certainty, salience, immediacy, self-efficacy, response-efficacy, and susceptibility.


A survey was designed with subscales for each element and combined with additional disaster and risk perception variables. Survey data were collected from two populations in the US state of Oklahoma. Results from scale development and regression analyses are reported.


Results show that the scales are robust and flexible to contextual modification. The scales return good to excellent reliabilities, providing evidence that the variables articulated by VI theory predict perceived salience and perceived preparedness.

Practical implications

This study adds to the research pointing to the efficacy of VI theory in providing insight into the perceptual barriers to preparedness. These results demonstrate that perceived vestedness can be a valuable tool in crafting messages to inform audiences of risks and motivate them to prepare.

Social implications

These results can facilitate the creation of more effective hazard and risk messages. Related research shows households that are prepared for natural and manmade hazards enjoy higher rates of survivability and lower levels of consequences.


This paper presents new results concerning perceived vestedness and the utility of the scales. The research should be of value to practitioners and policymakers concerned with motivating public audiences to prepare for natural and manmade hazards.



Adame, B. and Miller, C. (2016), "Vested interest: developing scales for assessing flooding preparedness", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 282-297.

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