Household Awareness of What to Do in a Disaster: A Social Capital Approach

March 2010 (VOL. 28, NO. 1)

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This article investigates the utility of a social capital approach for explaining household awareness of what to do in a disaster in the context of long-term threats. Using data from a household survey in Dominica, it assesses how the concepts and measures for two variants of social capita—relational and community—can be used to explain three separate awareness outcomes. Results demonstrate the relevance of both relational and community social capital tools for disaster research. Each type of social capital was found to be significantly related to a different awareness outcome. Further, although there was no evidence of a different effect of relational social capital across outcomes, there were significant differences between the effects of community social capital on awareness of protective measures, knowledge of what to take to a shelter, and familiarity with disaster committee responsibilities.