Collective resilience and social support in the face of adversity: evidence From Social Psychology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Research into responses to mass emergencies (such as disasters and terrorist attacks) shows that those affected can behave much more resiliently than is often expected. Furthermore, evidence from a range of emergencies suggests that the notion of vulnerable behaviour (such as ‘mass panic’) is a myth that is not supported by detailed exploration of how people behave. Instead, a Social Identity Model of Collective Resilience (SIMCR) is suggested, where co-operative behaviour is the normative response. The SIMCR suggests that such resilience can develop as a result of a social identity that emerges from shared experiences of adversity, and is similar to recent theoretical developments in the field that argue for a more community-oriented approach to resilience. Furthermore, such shared experiences may have a beneficial role in helping those exposed to adversity, in that such common identities can help survivors support each other and reduce the risk of psychological trauma. Recent literature from the fields of Social Psychology and Resilience are explored, and the benefits of such mutual social support are discussed. Finally, the implications for emergency planning and management are discussed, with practical suggestions for how such collective resilience can be encouraged in disaster preparation and response.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge international handbook of psychosocial resilience
EditorsU. Kumar
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781138954878
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016


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