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Individual Risk Perceptions and Behavior*

Contemporary Issues in Social Science

ISBN: 978-1-80043-931-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-930-6

ISSN: 1569-3759

Publication date: 25 May 2021


Purpose: Risk is a multifaceted concept, and its identification requires complex approaches that are often misunderstood. The consequence is that decisions are based on limited perception rather than the full value and meaning of what risk is, as a result, the way it is being tackled is incorrect. The individuals are often limited in their perceptions and ideas and do not embrace the full multifaceted nature of risk. Regulators and individuals want to follow norms and checklists or overuse models, simulations, and templates, thereby reducing responsibility for decision-making. At the same time, the wider use of technology and rules reduces the critical thinking of individuals. We advance the automation process by building robots that follow protocols and forget about the part of risk assessment that cannot be programed. Therefore, with this study, the objective of this study was to discover how people define risk, the influencing factors of risk perception and how they behave toward this perception. The authors also determine how the perception differed with age, gender, marital status, education level and region. The novelty of the research is related to individual risk perception during COVID-19, as this is a new and unknown phenomenon. Methodology: The research is based on the analysis of the self-administered purposely designed questionnaires we distributed across different social media platforms between February and June 2020 in Europe and in some cases was carried out as a interview over communication platforms such as “Skype,” “Zoom” and “Microsoft Teams.” The questionnaire was divided into four parts: Section 1 was designed to collect demographic information from the participants; Section 2 included risk definition statements obtained from literature and a preliminary discussion with peers; Section 3 included risk behavior statements; and Section 4 included statements on risk perception experiences. A five-point Likert Scale was provided, and participants were required to answer along a scale of “1” for “Strongly Agree” to “5” for “Strongly Disagree.” Participants also had the option to elaborate further and provide additional comments in an open-ended box provided at the end of the section. 466 valid responses were received. Thematic analysis was carried out to analyze the interviews and the open-ended questions, while the questionnaire responses were analyzed using various quantitative methods on IBM SPSS (version 23). Findings: The results of the analysis indicate that individuals evaluate the risk before making a decision and view risk as both a loss and opportunity. The study identifies nine factors influencing risk perception. Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that we can continue to develop models and rules, but as long as the risk is not understood, we will never achieve anything.



Girlando, A., Grima, S., Boztepe, E., Seychell, S., Rupeika-Apoga, R. and Romanova, I. (2021), "Individual Risk Perceptions and Behavior*", Grima, S., Özen, E. and Boz, H. (Ed.) Contemporary Issues in Social Science (Contemporary Studies in Economic and Financial Analysis, Vol. 106), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 367-436.



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