Group processes in community responses to flooding: implications for resilience and wellbeing

Ntontis, Evangelos (2018) Group processes in community responses to flooding: implications for resilience and wellbeing. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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The development of community resilience is one of the strategies that UK governments employ to guard against the severe and long-lasting impact of floods. However, current approaches to community resilience emphasize the role of pre-existing networks, largely ignoring the emergent togetherness between strangers that often characterizes disasters. My aim in this thesis is to use the social identity approach to collective resilience in order to investigate community responses to flooding and suggest a theoretically-driven approach to community resilience.

I present a critical review of how communities and their resilience regarding floods are represented in official guidance documents. The analysis shows that there are both static and reified, as well as more complex understandings of community resilience based on various psychological, cognitive, and relational concepts. Communities are either depicted as rational and agentic, or as passive receivers of expert knowledge. However, the documents mostly ignore psychological understandings of communities, as well as social identity understandings of collective resilience in disasters.

The empirical research in this thesis took place at York, UK, which flooded in December 2015, and included two interview studies conducted 2 and 15 months after the floods, and three cross-sectional surveys administered 8, 15, and 21 months post-flood. Results show that shared community identity emerges due to common fate and leads to higher expectations and provision of support, shared goals, enhanced collective efficacy, and increased well-being among residents. Common fate, shared identity, and the strength of their relationship decline over time, but communication can play a crucial role in the maintenance of shared identity.
Results show that social identity processes play a role in how communities respond to flooding. Thus, I argue that current approaches to community resilience can benefit by incorporating social identity understandings of psychological communities and collective resilience in theory and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis by publication
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM1001 Social psychology > HM1041 Social perception. Social cognition Including perception of the self and others, prejudices, stereotype
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2018 13:58
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2021 07:02

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