, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 227-247
Date: 14 Jan 2010

Measuring Capacities for Community Resilience

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to measure the sets of adaptive capacities for Economic Development and Social Capital in the Norris et al. (2008) community resilience model with publicly accessible population indicators. Our approach involved five steps. First, we conducted a literature review on measurements of the capacities. Second, we created an exhaustive “wish list” of relevant measures that operationalized the concepts presented in the literature. Third, we identified data sources and searched for archival, population-level data that matched our indicators. Fourth, we systematically tested correlations of indicators within and across the theoretical elements and used this information to select a parsimonious group of indicators. Fifth, we combined the indicators into composites of Economic Development and Social Capital and an additive index of Community Resilience using Mississippi county data, and validated these against a well-established index of social vulnerability and aggregated survey data on collective efficacy. We found that our measure of community resilience capacities correlated favorably and as expected when validated with the archival and survey data. This study provides the first step in identifying existing capacities that may predict a community’s ability to “bounce back” from disasters, thereby reducing post-trauma health and mental health problems.