Perceived human and material costs of disasters as drivers of donations.

Citation metadata

Author: Hanna Zagefka
Date: May 2021
From: Journal of Applied Social Psychology(Vol. 51, Issue 5)
Publisher: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 206 words

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

Abstract Are disaster relief appeals more successful if they emphasize the material cost of disaster events in terms of economic damages and need for shelter, food, and health care, or if they emphasize the human cost in terms of psychological suffering and trauma caused? Although giving patterns seem to suggest that large-scale events that cause widespread material damage (e.g., the Asian Tsunami of 2004) are more successful at eliciting donations than smaller scaled events, it is argued that this pattern is explained by the fact that large perceived material damage leads to more perceived human suffering. In other words, it is the perceived human suffering which is the proximal driver of donations, rather than the material damage itself. Therefore, relief appeals that emphasize the human cost of events are more successful at eliciting donations than appeals that emphasize the material cost of events. This was demonstrated in a study focusing on donations by British participants (N = 200) to the Syrian refugee crisis in 2020, a study focusing on donations by British participants to victims of severe weather events in Eastern and Southern Africa in 2020 (N = 210), and a study among British participants focusing on a fictitious event (N = 150). Byline: Hanna Zagefka

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A663086716