Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Mark Boyer

Associate Advisor

Betty Hanson

Associate Advisor

Jennifer Sterling-Folker

Field of Study

Political science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


In 2017, the President proposed a budget that allocated sixty percent of US discretionary resources toward military spending, putting US military spending higher than that of the next eight nations combined. Despite this enormous allocation of resources, millions of Americans feel so insecure that they have decided to take steps to insure their own security. With stockpiles of food and weapons, in personal bunkers, these preppers are viewed by some as extreme in their approach. The purpose of this piece is to explore the causes and fears that drive prepping behavior, and what view these individuals have of the US federal government; the entity that is supposed to insure the security of the American public. Ultimately, this study concludes that cultural factors, such as religion and the way one is raised, are most likely the causes of one’s decision to prep. However, other factors such as personal history, identity, and personality, when taken in conjunction with culture, can intensify prepping behavior. Furthermore, with natural disasters and the threat of a global financial meltdown at the top of the list of fears for most preppers, there is little that a single nation-state can do to address these concerns. Rather, a more wide-spread multilateral approach is required of the key actors within the international community. Ultimately, most within the prepping community possess a somewhat negative view of the US federal government, but there is no evidence that such views have the traction that would ultimately lead to conflict between preppers and the American government.