Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

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Volume 81 Issue 2 (June 2008), Pages 173-341

Economic crisis and social capital: The story of two rural fishing communities (pages 319-341)

The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the Newfoundland and Labrador groundfish moratorium on the health and social wellness of two communities severely affected by the industry collapse. A qualitative study was conducted involving individual and group interviews with residents from communities in which differences (as indexed primarily by economic and demographic statistics) were observed. Using the concept of social capital and its associated themes of help and support, trust, leadership, and civic engagement, it was observed that the ‘high crisis community’ also demonstrated negative alterations in social and political characteristics which may have compromised its capacity to cope with the crisis and translated into detriments in resident wellness. Among a variety of identified challenges, out‐migration appeared to be the greatest threat as it has translated into an assortment of negative realities. The utility of social capital as a framework for understanding community crises is also discussed.

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