Societal responses following disaster: Exploring the association between social conflict and environmental disaster events

Thumbnail Image
Brown, Lauren
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Environmental disasters have the ability to place significant amounts of stress on an individual's normal day to day life. Increases in social conflict can be a result of the existence of additional stressors long after disaster. Some studies have found associations between social conflict following environmental disaster, while others have produced mixed results. As part of a study to explore the changes in well-being in the Gulf Coast states impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster, this project leveraged data collected from Gulf Coast counties for a ten year period to understand the relationships between the environment and public health. This study examines three measures of social conflict (divorce, domestic violence, and crime) in the northern Gulf of Mexico region following specific environmental events to determine if there is a relationship between social conflict and environmental disaster. Results of this study suggest environmental disaster events are a good predictor of divorce but not of crime or domestic violence in the Gulf Coast region and that disaster events could have a negative effect on well-being at both the individual and community level. These findings will be useful in the development of plans for mitigation of and response to social conflict in communities most sensitive to disaster.
Thesis (M.S.) College of Charleston, South Carolina-The Graduate School, 2012
Committee members: Susan Lovelace, Maria Dillard, Ned Hettinger, Tracy Burkett, Amy T McCandless
climate change, disaster, gulf of mexico, social conflict, well-being
Environmental studies, Environmental science, Climate change