Communication-related vulnerability to disasters: A heuristic framework

Sten Hansson (Corresponding Author), Kati Orru, Andra Siibak, Asta Bäck, Marco Krüger, Friedrich Gabel, Claudia Morsut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of social vulnerability has been increasingly applied in disaster literature, but its communicative drivers have remained understudied. In this article, we put forward a heuristic framework for explaining how communication-related factors may adversely affect people's capacity to prepare for and respond to disasters. This will help researchers, policy makers, and practitioners in the field of disasters and crises to systematically identify individual, social-structural, and situational factors of vulnerability that shape how people access, understand, and act upon information about hazards. We integrate ideas from recent literature on information disorders – various forms and effects of false or harmful information that are characteristic to modern communication ecosystems – to improve our understanding of how the new media environments may transform the ways people learn about hazards and cope with disasters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101931
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Early online date2 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Communication theory
  • Disaster management
  • Information disorder
  • Risk communication
  • Social media
  • Social vulnerability


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