Article Index

Social Capital and the Mental Health Impacts of Hurricane Katrina: Assessing Long-Term Patterns of Psychosocial Distress

Authors
Francis O. Adeola and J. Steven Picou
Issue
March 2014
Description
Hurricane Katrina was the most costly disaster in U.S. history, creating severe physical and mental health impacts among the population exposed along the Gulf Coast. The physical and economic assessments have been the focus of many previous studies with inadequate attention paid to the long-term emotional and psychosocial toll on survivors. This study evaluates the socio-demographic and contextual variations in Katrina’s depressive and psychosocial stress impacts among a random sample of survivors in the most devastated counties/parishes of Louisiana and Mississippi three years after the storm. Our primary objective was to assess the influence of social capital, or lack of it, for mental health outcomes. Using a comprehensive random digit dialing telephone survey data-set, descriptive and multivariate statistical techniques including differences of means, factor analysis, multivariate discriminant analysis, and Ordinary Least Squares regression analysis, were utilized to test hypotheses derived from social capital theory. Strong support was found for the hypothesized relationships; empirical evidence clearly shows that lack of social capital predicts both depression and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. The results further reveal that Katrina’s mental health impacts are not evenly distributed. Depression, stress, and psychosocial impacts are skewed toward African Americans, older adults, women, unmarried adults, less educated, and people with weak social networks. Theoretical and applied policy implications of these findings are discussed for understanding lingering mental health problems three years post-Katrina.

Social Dimensions of Disaster Recovery

Authors
Kathleen Tierney and Anthony Oliver-Smith
Issue
August 2012
Description
Research on disaster recovery has moved beyond earlier uni-dimensional, stage-oriented, and linear conceptualizations and toward approaches that recognize variability, social inequality and diversity, and disparities in recovery processes and outcomes. Theory development has been hampered by the lack of a systematic comparative focus and a failure to contextualize recovery within broader global and societal conditions and trends. Recovery theories should take into account a range of factors that include (1) pre-disaster factors that shape vulnerabilities and exposures at multiple scales, such as indicators of social and economic well-being and governmental capacity; (2) disaster impacts and their implications for recovery; (3) immediate post-impact responses; and (4) post-disaster variables such as the quality of governance systems; institutional capacity; civil society-state relationships; systems of social provision; the appropriateness, coverage, and equity of recovery aid; and post-disaster conditions, trends and events that occur independently of disasters but that also shape recovery processes and outcomes.

Social Influence Perspective on Crowd Behavior

Authors
Leon Mann
Issue
August 1986
Description
Research guided by a social influence perspective on crowd behavior is considered under three categories: leader to crowd; crowd to members; crowd to outsiders. It is argued that a single model of crowd influence which relies on a single process is inadequate. It is found that several social influence processes affect the attitudes and actions of crowd members - social facilitation, modeling and imitation, conformity to group norms, group discussion and persuasive appeals. The operation of these social influence processes is examined for a variety of crowd forms including crusade rallies (Newton & Mann, 1980), crazy auctions (Mann, 1975), spectators to a dispute (Mann, Paleg & Hawkins, 1978), baiting crowds (Mann, 1981) and queues (Mann, 1970, 1977). The size of the crowd is shown to be an important factor mediating the probability that people will be drawn to the crowd, induced to join, and become influenced by the leader\\'s persuasive message. It is suggested that cultural differences in such factors as conformity pressures are linked to the incidence of crowd activity and the likelihood of social influence occurring in crowds in various countries. Future research should investigate the comparative vulnerability to influence of strangers and groups of friends in crowds, individual differences in susceptibility to crowd influences and discontinuities in individual behavior associated with changes in crowd size and proportion of crowd members already responding.

Social Location and Self-Protective Behavior: Implications for Earthquake Preparedness

Authors
Margie L. Edwards
Issue
November 1993
Description
Participation in household preparedness activities is examined in light of the first highly publicized earthquake prediction issued for the Central United States. Drawing on earlier research conducted in California, this paper examines the adoption of self-protective measures in Memphis, Tennessee. Survey data show that while people in this city are generally aware of and concerned about the earthquake hazard in their community, few have adopted the necessary precautions to reduce the negative effects of a damaging earthquake. However, those respondents who were most likely to engage in self-protective behavior are situated in structurally advantageous locations. Thus, future community-wide planning and preparedness efforts must be more attentive to limitations on household resources when advocating individual responsibility for safety.

Social Time and Disaster

Authors
David M. Neal
Issue
August 2013
Description
Time permeates the disaster process. Yet, few scholars have integrated various notions of time in their disaster studies. In this paper, I introduce the ideas of event time, clock and calendar time, social time, and rhythm of life within the context of the pre-impact, impact, and post-impact phases. Simply, day-to-day life in industrialized society is based upon a series of schedules, calendars and routines on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis. Events that we call disasters and catastrophes upset our normal rhythm of life, creating degrees of social disruption from the individual up through the community units of analysis. Social units in impacted areas move from clock and calendar time (doing what is scheduled) to event time (doing what is needed now) when disaster strikes. The process of recovery is reflected in attempts to reestablish these same (or similar) clock and calendar time patterns as before the disaster.

Societal Comparisons of Organizational Response to Earthquake Predictions: Japan vs the United States

Authors
Dennis S. Mileti
Issue
November 1983
Description
The conclusion reached in this research is that there are both similarities and differences in the response of organizations to scientifically credible earthquake predictions in Japan versus the United States. In general, Japanese organizations would cast an earthquake prediction as an \\"opportunity\\", while organizations in the United States would view a prediction as an \\"imposition\\" until they are convinced that they are at risk. Recent and continuing changes in policies and programs in the United States may well reduce this difference between the two nations. Specifically, findings revealed that resources were necessary for prediction-related mitigation and preparedness actions by all organizations; having a reason to respond to a prediction--or risk--was necessary for organizations in the United States, but not so in Japan where useful response is likely regardless of risk; finally, having the knowledge to act in response to a prediction was necessary for government organizations, but not for corporations who could more readily, perhaps, buy the needed expertise.

Societal Influences on Earthquake Information Meaning-Making and Household Preparedness1

Authors
Julia Becker, Douglas Paton, David Johnston and Kevin Ronan
Issue
August 2014
Description
Previous research has identified a diversity of personal and individual factors that influence household preparedness for earthquakes. However, societal influences on the preparedness process are less well studied. In particular, there is limited understanding of the impact that wider society has on people’s interpretation of earthquake and preparedness information, and how this relates to people’s decisions about getting prepared for earthquakes. To address this gap, a New Zealand-based project was initiated to investigate how social factors interact with individuals’ meaning-making of earthquake information and how this affects subsequent earthquake preparedness behaviour. A range of social factors were identified as being influential on the meaningmaking and preparedness process, including community (community participation, sense of community); leadership; responsibility (responsibility for preparing, responsibility for others); social norms; trust; and societal requirements.

Societal Response to Revised Earthquake Probabilities in the San Francisco Bay Area

Authors
JoAnne DeRouen Darlington, Dennis S. Mileti
Issue
August 1995
Description
Using data collected on the general public, health, safety and welfare agencies and organizations, and businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area we describe what people thought and did in response to receiving an informational newspaper insert about revised probabilities for the next damaging Bay Area earthquake. Our findings suggest that the insert was relatively successful in reaching all groups, that Bay Area residents are making earthquakes a permanent part of local culture, and sufficient knowledge may be in-hand with which to effectively and productively manage public earthquake predictions.

Solidarity during Snow-Disasters

Authors
Wolf R. Dombrowsky
Issue
March 1983
Description
The following article is based on a case study of two snow-disasters affecting the same area within an extremely short interval. Thus, many learn-effects could be studied and many behavior-patterns could be compared. In this context only one behavior-pattern shall be presented. It is a behavior which is commonly said to be \\"jointly responsible\\". The types, modes, causes, and objective backgrounds of such a behavior shall be discussed. The study\\'s results are based on qualitative interviews of 2-3 hours with 40 professionals of the German disaster relief organizations, and on the analysis of documents (official reports, staff diaries, mass media, etc.). A questionnaire is in preparation and should be given to the population which was affected by the disaster.

Some Contributions German Katastrophen-Soziologie Can Make to the Sociology of Disaster

Authors
John K. Schorr
Issue
August 1987
Description
The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the contributions the new and relatively undeveloped Katastrophensoziologie has been able to make to the sociology of disaster. The paper begins by reviewing the German criticism of some of the major figures in the sociology of disaster. The second section of the paper presents some of the possible contributions to be found in recent work within Katastrophensoziologie. Finally, the conclusion of the paper points to the scientific value of an international dialogue between scholars with different perspectives on the problem of disaster in societies.