Bronfenbrenners bioecological theory for modelling community resilience to natural disasters

Helen J. Boon, Alison Cottrell, David King, Robert B. Stevenson, Joanne Millar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


This paper advocates the use of Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory as a framework to analyse resilience at diverse scales. Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory can be employed to (a) benchmark social resilience, (b) target the priority interventions required and (c) measure progress arising from these interventions to enhance resilience to natural disasters. First, the paper explores resilience to natural disasters in the context of climatic change as building resilience is seen as a way to mitigate impacts of natural disasters. Second, concepts of resilience are systematically examined and documented, outlining resilience as a trait and resilience as a process. Third, issues arising in relation to the measurement of resilience are discussed. Fourth, Bronfenbrenner's bioecological systems theory is described and proffered to model and assess resilience at different scales. Fifth, studies are described which have supported the use of the bioecological systems theory for the study of resilience. Sixth, an example of the use of Bronfenbrenner's theory is offered and the paper concludes with suggestions for future research using Bronfenbrenner's theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-408
Number of pages28
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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