Given projections of future climate-related disasters, understanding the conditions that facilitate disaster preparedness is critical to achieving sustainable development. In a new paper led by Anushka Sandanam and co-authored by myself and Amy Diedrich, we examined whether people’s perceived preparedness for a future cyclone relates to their: (1) perceived individual adaptive capacity (in terms of flexibility and capacity to plan and learn); and (2) structural and cognitive social capital. The paper arose from Anushka’s Masters project and involved interviewing people in the Mission Beach area which is within the Wet Tropics bioregion of Queensland, Australia.

The paper shows that people’s perceived cyclone preparedness was related to their perceived individual flexibility in the face of change. Given that people’s perceived cyclone preparedness was related to individualistic factors, it is plausible that individualism-collectivism orientations influence people’s perceptions at an individual level. These results suggest that in the Wet Tropics region, enhancing people’s psychological flexibility may be an important step when preparing for future cyclones.

Sandanam, A., Diedrich, D., Gurney, G., Richardson, T. 2018. Perceptions of cyclone preparedness: assessing the role of individual adaptive capacity and social capital in the Wet Tropics, AustraliaSustainability 10(4):1165. doi:10.3390/su10041165.


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