Factors governing human fear of brown bear and wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article analyzes people's subjectively experienced fear in areas with presence of brown bear or wolf. Departing from the Human-Environment Interaction Model (Küller, R. 1991) a hypothetical model of environmental and individual antecedents of fear was tested using structural equation modeling of survey data (n = 391). In the model of fear of brown bear, the main predictor was the appraisal of the species as dangerous/uncontrollable and unpredictable. In the model of fear of wolf, the greater experience with the species and a stronger appraisal of wolf as dangerous, uncontrollable, and unpredictable led to low social trust and this, together with the appraisal of wolf as dangerous/uncontrollable and unpredictable, increased the likelihood of fear. Efforts to reduce human fear of wolves should focus on building trust between the public and authorities, whereas efforts to reduce fear of brown bear should focus on the individual's appraisal of the species.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Building Technologies


  • subjectively experienced fear, brown bear, wolf, cognitive vulnerability model, social trust, structural equation modeling
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-74
JournalHuman Dimensions of Wildlife
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch