Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Number of Pages



An extreme physical event, such as a flood, becomes a hazard when social structures and systems are endangered by it--and it becomes a disaster when these structures and systems are actually disrupted. As the twenty-first century approaches and population pressures continue to grow, natural disasters will occur with greater frequency, bringing serious consequences for more people than ever before. The problem of minimizing damage is aggravated by inadequate recognition of hazard in time to mitigate or prevent disaster; This thesis develops a framework for understanding how perceptions of natural hazard are associated with ideas about the passage of time and images of the future. Future perspectives are shown to be social constructs which act to filter perception so that aspects of the environment are either amplified or obscured. It is also argued that images of the environmental future are relatively stable but may change temporarily in response to immediate threat; In an effort to lay the foundation for empirical study of these relationships, elements of future orientation are separately analyzed including the anticipation of change when moving from the present into the future. Ideas about the nature of change are thought to be especially relevant to the study of the perception of future disaster. Problems in assessing personal perspectives of the environmental future are discussed and suggestions are made for the development of a quantitative instrument. The section on methodology includes consideration of changes in individual temporal perspectives as the individual moves from non-awareness to perception of hazard and eventually to hazard resolution and the resumption of normal life.


Constructs; Disaster; Environmental; Hazard; Model; Natural; Natural Disaster; Perceptions; Temporal; Understanding; Use; Natural Disaster

Controlled Subject

Public policy; Social structure; Environmental sciences; City planning; Public administration

File Format


File Size

5212.16 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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