The effects of vulnerability, severity, costs, effort, and effectiveness on prevention behavior, derived from protection motivation theory and the health belief model, have been extensively tested in the literature and have all been shown to predict rather well. In this study we test the effects of these determinants in a new context: the domestic risk prevention domain. The specific behaviors under study are related to the risks of burglary, fire, and water damage. In addition to previous studies, our multilevel research design allows us to evaluate which differences in the performance of domestic prevention behavior can be attributed to differences between persons and which to differences between behaviors within persons. Our results show that all determinants are relevant predictors for domestic risk prevention behavior. Disentangling the within-person and between-person effects shows that prevention behavior depends more on the relative evaluation of the prevention behavior determinants for a given person (e.g., a person perceives a smoke alarm to be more effective than antiburglar strips), than on the differences between persons regarding the general perception of these determinants (e.g., some persons find prevention behaviors in general more effective than other persons). To increase the performance of domestic risk prevention behaviors, we advise that interventions should focus on increasing a person's perception of risks and prevention behaviors relative to other risks and prevention behaviors rather than focusing on changing people's general perceptions of all risks and behaviors or focusing on specific target groups.
- Domestic risk prevention behavior
- health belief model (HBM)
- multilevel regression analysis
- protection motivation theory (PMT)
- risk perception