The Global and the Local: Precautionary Behaviours in the Realms of Crime, Heath and Home Safety


  • Erin Elan Gibbs Van Brunschot University of Calgary
  • Jason Laurendeau University of Lethbridge
  • Leslie-Anne Keown



anxiety, protection, gender, crime, health, home safety, disaster


We draw on Hollway and Jefferson’s (1997) idea that global anxieties may find an outlet for individual expression in the realm of crime: we argue that anxieties may also find expression in the realms of ill-health and home safety. To accomplish this, we examine preventative and protective behaviours that individuals undertake in each of these realms as outlets for the expression of anxiety. We consider how personal characteristics, such as age, as well as past experiences, present coping styles, and anxieties about future events contribute to protective behaviours within each realm, running separate models for men and women. Our findings suggest that different factors drive these precautionary behaviours for men and women, and across the different realms. Present coping styles (for men) and anxieties about future events (both men and women) seem to be most important in the realm of crime. In terms of health promotion, certain aspects of socio-demographic context are important, along with biographical factors such as past experience for men, and coping styles and anxieties for women. Meanwhile, socio-demographic context is most clearly at play in the realm of home safety, again with particular past experiences, present coping styles (men only) and anxieties also figuring in the mix. Our study of these realms sheds further light on Holloway and Jefferson’s conclusions regarding anxiety in the ‘risk society’, as well as enhances our understandings of risk management as gendered.