Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Social capital, neighborhood disorder, and disaster recovery

Lauren Clay, PhD, MPH, Mia Papas, PhD, David Abramson, PhD, MPH, James Kendra, PhD


Objective: This study examined social institutions as a contextual factor that may influence perceptions of neighborhood physical and social disorder during disaster recovery.

Design: The study used descriptive statistics and fit logistic regression models.

Setting and Participants: Participants in this study (n = 772) were recruited from temporary housing in Louisiana and Mississippi as part of the Gulf Coast Child and Family Health Study, a longitudinal study of households heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Community data were obtained from the Dun and Bradstreet Million Dollar Database and the American Community Survey.

Outcome measure(s): Social disorder was assessed by asking respondents how concerned they are about issues such as being robbed or walking alone at night. Physical disorder was assessed by asking about problems experienced in the last month such as broken or missing windows and presence of mice or rats.

Results: Greater income (β = −0.17, SE = 0.07), housing stability (β = −0.16, SE = 0.07), social support (β = −0.09, SE = 0.04), and home ownership (β = −0.10, SE = 0.05) were associated with lower social disorder and a larger male population at the community level was associated with greater social disorder (β = 0.00, SE = 0.00). Greater social support (β = −0.11, SE = 0.04), housing stability (β = −0.15, SE = 0.06), and higher income (β = −0.10, SE = 0.07) were associated with lower physical disorder.

Conclusions: Longitudinal research is needed to understand the direction of influence between neighborhood factors and to household ability to provide for basic needs postdisaster. The findings also highlight the need for further research on postdisaster male behavior.


social institutions, social capital, disaster recovery, neighborhood disorder, physical disorder, social disorder

Full Text:



Tierney KJ, Lindell M, Perry R: Facing the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness and Response in the United States. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.

Dynes RR, Quarantelli EL, Haas JE: Administrative, Methodological and Theoretical Problems of Disaster Research. Columbus: Disaster Research Center, Ohio State University, 1966.

Bolin R, Jackson M, Crist A: Gender inequality, vulnerability, and disaster: Issues in theory and research. In Enarson E, Hearn Morrow B (eds.): The Gendered Terrain of Disaster: Through Women's Eyes. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998: 27-44.

Galea S, Nandi A, Vlahov D: The epidemiology of post-traumatic stress disorder after disasters. Epidemiol Rev. 2005; 27(1): 78-91.

Noji EK (ed.): The Public Health Consequences of Disasters. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Haigh R, Amaratunga D: An integrative review of the built environment discipline's role in the development of society's resilience to disasters. Int J Disaster Resilience Built Environ. 2010; 1(1): 11-24.

National Governors' Association: Emergency Preparedness Project: Final Report. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1979.

Phillips BD, Neal DM, Webb G: Introduction to Emergency Management. CRC Press, 2011.

Haddow G, Bullock J, Coppola DP: Introduction to Emergency Management. 4th ed. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007.

Chang SE: Urban disaster recovery: A measurement framework and its application to the 1995 kobe earthquake. Disasters. 2010; 34(2): 303-327.

Haas JE, Kates RW, Bowden MJ (eds.): Reconstruction Following Disaster. Cambridge: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1977. Available at Accessed March 21, 2015.

Berke P, Beatley T: After the Hurricane: Linking Recovery to Sustainable Development in the Caribbean. Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

Olshansky RB: Toward a theory of community recovery from disaster: A review of existing literature. Paper presented at: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference of Urban Disaster Reduction, Kobe, Japan. 2005, January 18-22, 2005.

Rubin CB, Barbee DG: Disaster recovery and hazard mitigation: Bridging the intergovernmental gap. Public Adm Rev. 1985; 45: 57-63.

Quarantelli EL: The disaster recovery process: What we know and do not know from research. Newark, DE: Disaster Research Center, 1999. Preliminary Paper 286.

Godschalk DR: Disaster mitigation and hazard management. In Drabek T, Hoetmer G (eds.): Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government. Washington, DC: International City and County Management Association, 1991: 131-160.

FEMA: National preparedness goal, second edition. Federal Emergency Management Agency Media Library. 2015. Available at Accessed January 12, 2012.

Mileti DS: Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press, 1999.

Reddy SD: Factors influencing the incorporation of hazard mitigation during recovery from disaster. Nat Hazards. 2000; 22(2): 185-201.

Rubin CB: Recovery from disaster. In Waugh WL, Tierney KJ (eds.): Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government. Washington, DC: International City Management Association, 1991: 224-259.

Browning CR, Cagney KA: Moving beyond poverty: Neighborhood structure, social processes, and health. J Health Soc Behav. 2003; 44(4): 552-571.

Diez-Roux AV: Residential environments and cardiovascular risk. J Urban Health. 2003; 80(4): 569-589.

Gauvin L, Richard L, Craig CL, et al.: From walkability to active living potential: An “ecometric” validation study. Am J Prev Med. 2005; 28(2): 126-133.

LeClere FB, Rogers RG, Peters KD: Ethnicity and mortality in the united states: Individual and community correlates. Social Forces. 1997; 76(1): 169-198.

Macintyre S, Ellaway A: Neighborhoods and health: An overview. In Kawachi I, Berkman LF (eds.): Neighborhoods and Health. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003: 20-42.

MacIntyre S, Maciver S, Sooman A: Area, class and health: Should we be focusing on places or people? J Soc Policy. 1993; 22(02): 213-234.

Riad JK, Norris FH: The influence of relocation on the environmental, social, and psychological stress experienced by disaster victims. Environ Behav. 1996; 28(2): 163-182.

Robert SA: Community-level socioeconomic status effects on adult health. J Health Soc Behav. 1998; 39(1): 18-37.

Sampson RJ, Morenoff JD, Gannon-Rowley T: Assessing “neighborhood effects”: Social processes and new directions in research. Annu Rev Sociol. 2002; 28: 443-478.

Sampson RJ, Raudenbush SW: Seeing disorder: Neighborhood stigma and the social construction of “broken windows”. Soc Psychol Q. 2004; 67(4): 319-342.

Skogan WG: Disorder and Decline: Crime and the Spiral of Decay in American Neighborhoods. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

Sampson RJ, Raudenbush SW, Earls F: Neighborhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science. 1997; 277(5328): 918-924.

Raudenbush SW, Sampson RJ: Ecometrics: Toward a science of assessing ecological settings, with application to the systematic social observation of neighborhoods. Sociol Methodol. 1999; 29(1): 1-41.

Bates FL, Peacock WG: Long-term [disaster] recovery. Int Jo Mass Emerg Disasters. 1989; 7(3): 349-365.

Berke PR, Kartez J, Wenger D: Recovery after disaster: Achieving sustainable development, mitigation and equity. Disasters. 1993; 17(2): 93-109.

Curtis A, Mills JW: Crime in urban post-disaster environments: A methodological framework from new orleans. Urban Geogr. 2011; 32(4): 488-510.

Kawachi I: Social capital and community effects on population and individual health. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999; 896(1): 120-130.

Parcel TL, Menaghan EG: Family social capital and children's behavior problems. Soc Psychol Q. 1993; 55(2): 120-135.

Furstenberg FF, Jr, Hughes ME: Social capital and successful development among at-risk youth. J Marriage Family. 1995; 57(3): 580-592.

Fukuyama F: Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1995.

Morenoff JD, Sampson RJ, Raudenbush SW: Neighborhood inequality, collective efficacy, and the spatial dynamics of urban violence*. Criminology. 2001; 39(3): 517-558.

Roman C, Moore G: Measuring local institutions and organizations: The role of community institutional capacity in social capital. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2004. Final research report.

Kawachi I, Kennedy BP, Lochner K, et al.: Social capital, income inequality, and mortality. Am J Public Health. 1997; 87(9): 1491-1498.

Putnam RD: Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.

Rupasingha A, Goetz SJ, Freshwater D: The production of social capital in US counties. J Socio-Econ. 2006; 35(1): 83-101.

Sherrieb K, Norris FH, Galea S: Measuring capacities for community resilience. Soc Indicators Res. 2010; 99(2): 227-247.

Breton M: On the meaning of empowerment and empowerment-oriented social work practice. Social Work Groups. 1994; 17(3): 23-37.

Veysey BM, Messner SF: Further testing of social disorganization theory: An elaboration of Sampson and Groves's “Community structure and crime”. J Res Crime Delinquency. 1999; 36(2): 156-174.

Warren MR, Thompson JP, Saegert S: The role of social capital in combating poverty. In Saegert S, Thompson JP, Warren MR (eds.): Social Capital and Poor Communities. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2001: 1-28.

Berkman LF: The role of social relations in health promotion. Psychosom Med. 1995; 57(3): 245-254.

Foa R: Social institutions and human development. Social Development Department of the Sustainable Development Network of the World Bank, 2008. Social Development Working Papers 006.

Adger WN, Hughes TP, Folke C, et al.: Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science. 2005; 309(5737): 1036-1039.

Dun and Bradstreet. Business data. Dun and Bradstreet Million Dollar Database. October 11-14, 2013. Available at Accessed March 30, 2014.

U. S. Census Bureau: American community survey: Data. United States Census Bureau Web site. Available at Accessed December 16, 2013.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About healthy places. Available at Updated 2010. Accessed September 9, 2013.

Papas MA, Alberg AJ, Ewing R, et al.: The built environment and obesity. Epidemiol Rev. 2007; 29(1): 129-143.

Berkman LF: Physical health and the social environment: A social epidemiological perspective. In The Relevance of Social Science for Medicine. Amsterdam: Springer, 1981: 51-75.

Yen IH, Syme SL: The social environment and health: A discussion of the epidemiologic literature. Annu Rev Public Health. 1999; 20(1): 287-308.

Syme SL: Behavioral factors associated with the etiology of physical disease: A social epidemiological approach. Am J Public Health. 1974; 64(11): 1043-1045.

Grannis R: The importance of trivial streets: Residential streets and residential segregation 1. Am J Soc. 1998; 103(6): 1530-1564.

Abramson DM, Stehling-Ariza T, Park YS, et al.: Measuring individual disaster recovery: A socioecological framework. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2010; 4(suppl 1): S46-S54.

Abramson D, Stehling-Ariza T, Garfield R, et al.: Prevalence and predictors of mental health distress post-katrina: Findings from the gulf coast child and family health study. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2008; 2(2): 77-86.

Coulton CJ, Korbin JE, Su M: Neighborhoods and child maltreatment: A multi-level study. Child Abuse Negl. 1999; 23(11): 1019-1040.

Diez-Roux AV: Multilevel analysis in public health research. Annu Rev Public Health. 2000; 21(1): 171-192.

Coulton C: The place of community in social work practice research: Conceptual and methodological developments. Soc Work Res. 2005; 29(2): 73-86.

Cummins S, Curtis S, Diez-Roux AV, et al.: Understanding and representing ‘place’in health research: A relational approach. Soc Sci Med. 2007; 65(9): 1825-1838.

Zahran S, Shelley TO, Peek L, et al.: Natural disasters and social order: Modeling crime outcomes in Florida. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters. 2009; 27(1): 26-52.

Enarson E, Scanlon J: Gender patterns in flood evacuation: A case study in canada's red river valley. Appl Behav Sci Rev. 1999; 7(2): 103-124.

Enarson E: Women and housing issues in two US disasters: Case studies from hurricane andrew and the red river valley flood. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters. 1999; 17(1): 39-63.

Fordham M: The intersection of gender and social class in disaster: Balancing resilience and vulnerability. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters. 1999; 17: 15-36.

Yelvington KA: Coping in a temporary way: The tent cities. In Peacock WG, Morrow BH, Gladwin H (eds.): Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender and the Sociology of Disasters. New York: Routledge, 1997: 92.

Felten-Biermann C: Gender and natural disaster: Sexualized violence and the tsunami. Development. 2006; 49(3): 82-86.

Wachtendorf T, Kendra JM, Rodriguez H, et al.: The social impacts and consequences of the december 2004 Indian ocean tsunami: Observations from India and Sri Lanka. Earthquake Spectra. 2006; 22(S3): 693-714.

Pratto F: Sexual politics: The gender gap in the bedroom, the cupboard, and the cabinet. In Buss D, Malamuth N (eds.): Sex, Power, and Conflict: Evoluntionary and Feminist Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996: 179-230.

Koss MP, Goodman LA, Browne A, et al.: No Safe Haven: Male Violence Against Women at Home, at Work, and in the Community. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1994.

Kapoor S: Domestic violence against women and girls. Innocenti Digest UNICEF. 2000; 6: 22.

Cooper LB, Paluck EL, Fletcher EK, et al.: Reducing gender-based violence. In Ryan MK, Branscombe NR (eds.): The SAGE Handbook of Gender and Psychology. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2013: 359-377.

Hox J: Multilevel modeling: When and why. In Balderjahn I, Mathar R, Schader M. (eds): Classification, Data Analysis, and Data Highways. Berlin: Springer, 1998: 147-154.

Maas CJ, Hox JJ: Sufficient sample sizes for multilevel modeling. Methodology. 2005; 1(3): 86-92.

Bell BA, Ferron JM, Kromrey JD: Cluster size in multilevel models: The impact of sparse data structures on point and interval estimates in two-level models. Paper presented at: JSM Proceedings, Section on Survey Research Methods, Denver, CO. August 3-7, 2008.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Journal of Emergency Management