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Factors in the Development of Community Resilience to Disasters

Factors in the Development of Community Resilience to Disasters


Terrorist incidents and severe natural disasters have focused concern on preparedness and response activities to enhance psychological and social adjustment in the aftermath of extreme events and to minimize maladaptation over time. Borrowing from a growing body of work describing the characteristics that promote resilience in individuals, the concept of community resilience has emerged as a community-level construct to foster individual, family, and community adaptation. The likelihood of unanticipated terrorist events and the possibility of massive infrastructure destruction associated with major disasters increase the importance of community resilience strategies.

Relatively little is known about what constitutes a resilient community or about the factors, conditions, and processes that promote it. In this paper, we (1) describe the construct of community resilience in the context of disasters, (2) propose a set of contributing factors, (3) identify potential barriers, and (4) make recommendations for enhancing community resilience. The paper does not constitute a formal review of the literature on community resilience.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Pfefferbaum, Betty, and Karen Wyche. 2008. "Factors in the Development of Community Resilience to Disasters." In Intervention and Resilience After Mass Trauma. New York, NY:Cambridge University Press.

START Author(s): 
Betty Pfefferbaum
Publication URL: 
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