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Elderly Perceptions of Social Capital and Age-Related Disaster Vulnerability

  • Michelle Annette Meyer (a1)

Abstract

Objective

Elderly individuals are considered at elevated risk of disaster impacts owing to increased health concerns, reduced mobility, and fixed economic resources. Social capital can counteract these vulnerabilities by increasing the likelihood of hearing disaster warnings, providing social ties to assist with preparation and evacuation, and providing access to financial or nonfinancial resources. I aimed to analyze the relationship between age and perceptions of disaster-related social capital.

Methods

I used mailed surveys and in-person interviews with a sample of residents from 2 Florida counties to study perceptions of social capital available for disaster.

Results

The results showed that age has a negative effect on perceptions of social capital resources available during a disaster. The elderly reported fewer social ties overall and much fewer social ties that could provide financial assistance, if necessary, during a disaster.

Conclusions

These results indicate that social capital may not counteract the social vulnerabilities of elderly persons to disaster impacts. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:48–55)

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Michelle Annette Meyer, PhD, Department of Sociology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 (e-mail: mmeyer@lsu.edu).

References

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Elderly Perceptions of Social Capital and Age-Related Disaster Vulnerability

  • Michelle Annette Meyer (a1)

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