Understanding cultural resilience to the threat of climate change through quality of life analysis


  • S. Skevington
  • T. WHOQOL SRPB Group


Background: Culture plays a role in whether communities are resilient to adversity, and multi-disciplinary evidence suggests that some cultures are more resilient than others, but cross-cultural evidence is scarce. We aimed to find out which aspects of quality of life (QoL) best predicted resilience. Also which QoL dimensions best distinguished subgroups with high and low resilience. A global model of cultural resilience and QoL was constructed. Methods: An international quality of life measure that is state-of-the-art in cross-cultural research (The WHOQOL SRPB), was used to assess 33 important dimensions of QoL in 17 cultures. The total sample (N=3270) was structured for age band, health status and gender. Educational level, marital status, and spiritual affiliation were recorded. A resilience definition and strategies for improving resilience outlined by the American Psychological Association guided variable operationalization and selection, before modelling. Findings: Globally, spiritual qualities of life were the best predictors of cultural resilience.These included: meaning and purpose in life, awe, wholeness, kindness and hope, also positive feelings. Highly resilient people reported better QoL than less resilient on all the above dimensions, and also relating to QoL linked to cognitions, self-esteem, relationships and social support. Discussion: Culturally appropriate guidelines for policy-makers derived from these models could promote resilience-enhancing activities in communities living in environments at major risk from climate change. This psycho-spiritual-cultural approach assists in understanding planetary health. Acknowledgements: The Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio





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