Social Capital, Place Meanings, and Perceived Resilience to Climate Change

Jordan W. Smith, Dorothy H. Anderson, Roger L. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


This research analyzes individuals' perceived resilience to changing climatic conditions. Specifically, we suggest individual resilience is composed of an awareness of localized risks created because of climate change, a willingness to learn about, and plan for, the potential impacts of altered environmental conditions, and general appraisals of personal adaptive capacities. We hypothesize that resilience is influenced by the characteristics of individuals' social networks and also by their social-psychological dependence on local environments. Using data collected in three resource-associated communities within the southeastern United States, our analysis suggests bonding ties may limit individuals' willingness to seek new information about the potential impacts of climate change. Conversely, the data suggest the use of a diverse array of bridging ties is positively associated with information-seeking behavior. The data also support our hypothesis that individuals' social psychological dependencies on the local environment influences their perceived resilience to changing climatic conditions. By gaining a clearer understanding of how individuals' social networks and social-psychological dependencies affect their perceived ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, decision makers can focus on policy solutions that increase adaptive capacities and build social resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-407
Number of pages28
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


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