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Focusing Resource Allocation-Wellbeing as a Tool for Prioritizing Interventions for Communities at Risk
The Australian and New Zealand School of Government's Institute for Governance, University of Canberra, University Drive South, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
School of Sociology, The Australian National University, Canberra 0200, Australia
The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, University Drive South, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 April 2013; in revised form: 23 July 2013 / Accepted: 25 July 2013 / Published: 6 August 2013
Abstract: Objective: This study examined whether a wellbeing approach to resilience and adaptation would provide practical insights for prioritizing support to communities experiencing environmental and socio-economic stressors. Methods: A cross-sectional survey, based on a purposive sample of 2,196 stakeholders (landholders, hobby farmers, town resident and change agents) from three irrigation-dependent communities in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin. Respondents’ adaptive capacity and wellbeing (individual and collective adaptive capacity, subjective wellbeing, social support, community connectivity, community leadership, in the context of known life stressors) were examined using chi-square, comparison of mean scores, hierarchical regression and factor-cluster analysis. Results: Statistically significant correlations (p < 0.05) were observed between individual (0.331) and collective (0.318) adaptive capacity and wellbeing. Taking into account respondents’ self-assessed health and socio-economic circumstances, perceptions of individual (15%) and collective adaptive capacity (10%) as well as community connectivity (13%) were associated with wellbeing (R2 = 0.36; F (9, 2099) = 132.9; p < 0.001). Cluster analysis found that 11% of respondents were particularly vulnerable, reporting below average scores on all indicators, with 56% of these reporting below threshold scores on subjective wellbeing. Conclusions: Addressing the capacity of individuals to work with others and to adapt to change, serve as important strategies in maintaining wellbeing in communities under stress. The human impacts of exogenous stressors appear to manifest themselves in poorer health outcomes; addressing primary stressors may in turn aid wellbeing. Longitudinal studies are indicated to verify these findings. Wellbeing may serve as a useful and parsimonious proxy measure for resilience and adaptive capacity.
Keywords: vulnerability; climate variability and change; resilience; adaptive capacity; social capital; thresholds in wellbeing
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Hogan, A.; Tanton, R.; Lockie, S.; May, S. Focusing Resource Allocation-Wellbeing as a Tool for Prioritizing Interventions for Communities at Risk. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 3435-3452.
Hogan A, Tanton R, Lockie S, May S. Focusing Resource Allocation-Wellbeing as a Tool for Prioritizing Interventions for Communities at Risk. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(8):3435-3452.
Hogan, Anthony; Tanton, Robert; Lockie, Stewart; May, Sarah. 2013. "Focusing Resource Allocation-Wellbeing as a Tool for Prioritizing Interventions for Communities at Risk." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 8: 3435-3452.