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Who Participates in Building Disaster Resilient Communities: A Cluster-Analytic Approach

Adams, Rachel M. MPH; Rivard, Helene MPH; Eisenman, David P. MD, MSHS

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: January/February 2017 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 37–46
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000387
Research Articles

Context: The Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience project is a community-based program to improve disaster resilience. We collected baseline measures of resilience-related attitudes and practices among targeted communities prior to the implementation of the intervention.

Objectives: This study identified community disaster resilience behavior patterns and assessed their associations with sociodemographic and social cognitive characteristics.

Design: Telephone surveys during summer 2013.

Setting: Sixteen communities in Los Angeles County (2 per service planning area).

Participants: The address-based sample of adults (≥18) was selected to be representative of 2010 census tracts in each of the communities

Main Outcome Measures: We examined relationships between sociodemographic characteristics, social cognitive factors, and participation in community disaster resilience activities.

Results: Three clusters of community resilience behavior patterns emerged. Cluster distribution significantly differed across several sociodemographic and social cognitive factors. Participants who were African American, Hispanic, had higher education, income, self-efficacy, trust in the public health department, civic engagement, and social capital were significantly associated with being in the cluster most active in resilience-building activities.

Conclusions: The results confirm that there are distinct community resilience behavior patterns. These patterns vary according to population characteristics, which supports audience segmentation approaches and developing a range of emergency preparedness programs targeted to the strengths and weaknesses of the different audience segments.

Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.

Emergency Preparedness and Response Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, California (Mss Adams and Rivard and Dr Eisenman); Department of Community Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (Ms Adams); and Center for Public Health and Disasters, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (Dr Eisenman).

Correspondence: Rachel M. Adams, MPH, Department of Community Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, 640 Charles E Young Dr S, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (

The authors thank the staff at the Emergency Preparedness and Response Program for their technical support of the project.

This work was supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant 2U90TP917012-11) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (70503).

The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or the official position(s) of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health or any of the funding agencies.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

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