Abstract for: Model of Drivers of Fear-Induced Consumer Avoidance Behaviors Post-Incident

The effects of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have drawn attention to the psychological consequences of national incidents. Psychological consequences are instantiated by changes in behavior. Changes in behavior can be significant, substantial, and can span a duration that would impact the economy, human safety, and/or infrastructure sectors. This paper describes likely drivers of what is termed “fear-induced avoidance behavior.” Fear-induced avoidance behavior is behavior caused by fear or anxiety of an activity, which then causes avoidance of said activity—a prominent example being many people’s fear-induced avoidance of flying after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. This paper presents a system dynamics model of the driving forces that induce fear avoidance and the forces that assist in system recovery. This model was not based on any specific historical incident to allow for application of the model to multiple types of incidents. Major components of this model include: Consumer needs; Risk perception; and Consumers’ ability to substitute one activity for another (e.g., driving instead of flying). Through the use of the system dynamics framework the authors are able to provide potential non-intuitive policies that could assist in minimizing psychological consequences stemming from national incidents.