Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Jamie Baxter


This risk perception study uses a survey of households in Elgin County, Ontario and Ottawa-West, Ontario proximal to a technological hazard (land use) dispute to test the explanatory power of traditional risk perception models when applied in the local context. It is hypothesized that ‘local context variables’ - akin to the approach of the social amplification/attenuation of risk framework - will be significant predictors of perceived threat, perhaps more so than the psychometric paradigm and the cultural theory of risk. Likewise, fiduciary equity is hypothesized to be a significant predictor also. Data are analyzed using binary logistic regression and cross tabulations; most notable is the consistent significance of ‘local context variables,’ both as predictors of perceived threat from the local facility (a landfill) as well as towards non-local controversial technologies (e.g., nuclear facilities). Also intriguing is the significance of fiduciary equity specific to the local hazard as a predictor of perceived threat from non-local technologies. These findings suggest that experience with the local land use dispute is influencing (i.e., sensitizing) perceived threat from the local facility, as well as from technological hazards in general; a finding supporting the importance of specific local contexts (i.e., daily lived experience) in risk perception.



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