Assessing the impact of vulnerability on perceptions of social cohesion in the context of community resilience to disaster in the Blue Mountains

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Rural Health, 2018, 26 (1), pp. 14 - 19
Issue Date:
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© 2017 National Rural Health Alliance Inc. Objective: To assess the impact of network communications, community participation and elements of vulnerability on the perception of social cohesiveness in the Blue Mountains local government area (Blue Mountains LGA). Design: A questionnaire was administered to residents of the Blue Mountains LGA. Econometric analysis of the resulting data was undertaken. Setting: Blue Mountains LGA, Australia. Participants: One thousand one hundred and three residents of the Blue Mountains LGA responded to the questionnaire. Main outcome measure(s): The responses enabled the construction of variables measuring individual perceptions of community cohesiveness, their network communications and community participation. Demographic data and data on the vulnerabilities of individuals were also collected. Results: The data were used in an econometric model which identified that network communications and community participation impacted positively on perceptions of social cohesiveness while vulnerability factors had a negative impact. Conclusions: Remedial action to build community cohesiveness and network communications can be expected to have a positive impact on social cohesiveness. In developing strategies to build community cohesiveness and network communication, particular care needs to be taken to ensure the inclusion of those members of society who are regarded as the most vulnerable.
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