Community reaction to a social disaster : a Newfoundland case study

Fowler, Ken F. (2001) Community reaction to a social disaster : a Newfoundland case study. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Evidence regarding the impact of economic crises on individuals and communities suggests that there are a variety of potential deleterious effects. On an individual level, negative psychological, social, behavioural, and somatic consequences have been observed, while community-level outcomes have included such responses as detriments in political efficacy and social cohesion. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the Newfoundland and Labrador groundfish moratorium on the health and social wellness of six selected communities affected by the industry collapse. The investigation had two stages. A quantitative study was initially conducted to examine trends in community demographics, cause and age-specific mortality and hospital morbidity rates, youth perceptions of the quality of school life, and rates associated with various types of crime over several years prior to, and following the fishery closure. During the second stage, a qualitative study was conducted which involved individual and group interviews with community residents from two specific communities in which differences (in terms of the outcome measures) were observed. Analyses of mortality and hospital morbidity rates, and crime statistics suggested negative community responses had occurred following the fishery closure. However, student perceptions of the quality of school life improved significantly following the moratorium suggesting that education may be perceived by community youth as the primary means of securing better futures. -- Among the selected communities, responses were variable. Two communities differing in their response to the moratorium were selected for the field visits. Using the concept of social capital and its associated themes of help and support, trust, leadership, civic engagement, etc., it was observed that the community demonstrating poorer adaptation to the moratorium (as indexed through the outcome measures in first stage) also showed negative alterations in the social and political character of their community which may have compromised its capacity to cope with the crisis, and translated into detriments in resident wellness. Among a variety of identified challenges, out migration appeared to be the greatest threat as it has translated into an assortment of negative realities. These findings are discussed with reference to an expanded theory of social capital.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1197
Item ID: 1197
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 370-399
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 2001
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Fishers--Newfoundland and Labrador--Social conditions; Fish trade--Newfoundland and Labrador--Employees--Social conditions; Cod fisheries--Newfoundland and Labrador--Social aspects; Unemployment--Newfoundland and Labrador--Social aspects; Unemployment--Newfoundland and Labrador--Psychological aspects

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