The utility of perceived community efficacy in emergency preparedness

Watt, Frank (2016) The utility of perceived community efficacy in emergency preparedness. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

The present study adopts a mixed methods approach, integrating data from qualitative and quantitative studies, to examine the utility of perceived community efficacy in measuring a community’s collective beliefs towards undertaking preparedness measures. Previous research indicated that social cognitive theory and the construct of collective efficacy were important in understanding behaviours that contributed to the achievement of goals. Although research studies had employed the construct of perceived community efficacy to investigate problems, none had focused on community beliefs and actions regarding emergency preparedness. The qualitative study used 20 semi-structured interviews to elicit detailed information on beliefs about collective community activities. Both inductive and deductive approaches were used to develop an a priori model. Three individual constructs taken from community based research domains; community network structure, social capital and community capacity were integrated to form a composite model that was used to investigate how social and community aspects influence beliefs and behaviours of residents. The model was used as a guide for the thematic analysis of the transcripts and the construction of an item pool consisting of 40 items to be used in a quantitative study. The quantitative study involved over 500 respondents who resided within flood risk zones. The data from this study were used in the instrumentation of the model. Exploratory factor analysis was used to explore factorability and hierarchical regression would be used to explore relationships between variables. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to determine goodness of fit. The major finding of the qualitative study was the participants’ collective belief that their respective communities would engage in preparedness activities. The quantitative study supported the main findings of the qualitative study. The contribution of this model to community based theory has been to generate new knowledge on how the constructs of community network structure, social capital and community capacity act collectively to influence a residents’ beliefs and actions. A measurement scale was developed to elicit new knowledge regarding perceived community efficacy as a predictor of the likelihood of a community in undertaking preparedness measures in an emergency. Being able to predict likely future performance or behaviours is key to understanding whether or not a community might protect themselves in the future against an imminent natural hazard or disaster. The research has established the application of social cognitive theory in disaster and emergency research and extends the current body of knowledge on community preparedness research. The results, implications for the profession and future research are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date of PhD award confirmed as 2016 by registry
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Organizational Psychology
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 04 May 2016 11:30
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 12:47
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/185

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