Wednesday 7
Measuring, assessing, profiling (MAP) community resilience: psychosocial dimensions
Astier Almedom
› 10:25 - 11:20 (55min)
› Antigone 1
From individual to community resilience. The role of perception and optimism in disaster risk reduction
Sara Bonati  1@  
1 : Università degli Studi di Padova  -  Website


Resilience can be interpreted as one of the components to subtract to the sum of the actions that increase risk propensy. It is inversaly proportional and complementary to vulnerability. Its entrance in disaster studies could be seen as the birth of a new culture of disaster response where resilience is defined as the capability to survive and hack risk with minimum impact and damage (Berke and Campanella, 2006; National Research Council, 2006; Cutter, 2008).


The transcalarity of resilience is composed by three social levels: individual, family and community that are strongly connected each other. The first resilience activated by disasters is the invidual one so it has a central role to reduce impacts. Resilience can be destinguished also in environmental and social ones. This last one is the exposure to stress coming from impacts of environmental change, where stress is the «disruption to groups' or individuals' livelihoods and forced adaptation to the changing physical environment» (Adger, 2000).


This research focuses on individual resilience as a component of community one. Purpose is to investigate the weight that individual response to disasters has measuring total resilience capacity. Individual level of adaptability to sudden changes depends not only by the level of training and skills but also by personal attitude.


Resilience is defined into this work as composed by intepretation capacity, reaction alartness, individual characteristics and geographical context. In particular, resilience focuses upon positive outcomes and is given by risk factors, environmental factors, and interpersonal factors (as genetic protective and cognitive ones, that include optimism, intelligence, creativity, humor, and belief system).


Some components that seem to have a particular role to implement personal capacity of response have been investigated: perception and optimism. Through a perception analysis, this study tries to explain the relationship between optimism and more or less risk perception and how this interact with resilience capacity.


To measure the weight of these components in resilience has been elaborated a questionnaire, composed by geographic and psycologic tools, that has been submitted to two vulnerable communities, with similar risk characteristics and different cultural belonging: Cinque Terre (north- east Italy) and Madera (portuguese archipelago). They are affected by frequent episodes of landslides and fires and recently have been interested by devastating floods. The questionnaire has been submitted to some actors' groups that have a key- role to manage emergencies. The results have been summed to resilient strategies put in action after the floods and vulnerable practicies committed, in order to obtain the level of community resilience/vulnerability.


Starting from Cutter (2008) place- based model, a framework will be presented in order to explain the temporary evolution of optimism impact on place resilience capacity. The effectiveness of social resilient strategies is linked to individual perception and reactivity.

Finally, a participatory resilient system will be presented in order to implement the response capacity of local communities to disasters risk.

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