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The Burdens of Social Capital: How Socially-Involved People Dealt with Stress after Hurricane Katrina

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Abstract:

Most literature on social capital indicates that those who are socially active and engaged are happier and experience less stress than those who are socially isolated. However, most of this literature refers to ordinary, non-crisis conditions and does not examine dynamic change over time. We propose that this picture be modified for times of crisis and recovery. During such times, we suggest, people who are socially active and engaged are likely to initially experience greater stress than the social isolates, but to recover more quickly and become able to handle greater stress again, as they did before the crisis. The reasons for this pattern, we argue, are the same throughout the cycle. Those with greater social capital have greater social networks and social support during ordinary times that enable them to handle stress better. During the height of a crisis, this same social embeddedness places extraordinary demands and burdens on them, as they try to help and support their wide networks of family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and community members. As the recovery from the crisis proceeds, those with greater social capital are able to snap back more effectively and handle stress better, as they begin to routinize their activities and once again rely more on their social networks for support. Our data analyses show just this pattern in surveys in Baton Rouge before Hurricane Katrina, and during the crisis and recovery period after the storms.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

social (90), katrina (62), feel (50), survey (40), baton (39), crime (38), roug (37), neighborhood (37), stress (30), capit (30), trust (28), time (28), peopl (26), due (25), evacue (23), communiti (21), hurrican (20), fear (20), 2005 (20), victim (18), crisi (18),

Author's Keywords:

social capital, disaster, public opinion, hurricane katrina, community
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Name: American Sociological Association
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http://www.asanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Weil, Frederick., Shihadeh, Edward. and Lee, Matthew. "The Burdens of Social Capital: How Socially-Involved People Dealt with Stress after Hurricane Katrina" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Montreal Convention Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Aug 10, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p103858_index.html>

APA Citation:

Weil, F. , Shihadeh, E. and Lee, M. R. , 2006-08-10 "The Burdens of Social Capital: How Socially-Involved People Dealt with Stress after Hurricane Katrina" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Montreal Convention Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p103858_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Most literature on social capital indicates that those who are socially active and engaged are happier and experience less stress than those who are socially isolated. However, most of this literature refers to ordinary, non-crisis conditions and does not examine dynamic change over time. We propose that this picture be modified for times of crisis and recovery. During such times, we suggest, people who are socially active and engaged are likely to initially experience greater stress than the social isolates, but to recover more quickly and become able to handle greater stress again, as they did before the crisis. The reasons for this pattern, we argue, are the same throughout the cycle. Those with greater social capital have greater social networks and social support during ordinary times that enable them to handle stress better. During the height of a crisis, this same social embeddedness places extraordinary demands and burdens on them, as they try to help and support their wide networks of family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and community members. As the recovery from the crisis proceeds, those with greater social capital are able to snap back more effectively and handle stress better, as they begin to routinize their activities and once again rely more on their social networks for support. Our data analyses show just this pattern in surveys in Baton Rouge before Hurricane Katrina, and during the crisis and recovery period after the storms.

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