Emergent social identities in a flood: Implications for community psychosocial resilience

Evangelos Ntontis*, John Drury, Richard Amlôt, G. James Rubin, Richard Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Although the mobilization of pre-existing networks is crucial in psychosocial resilience in disasters, shared identities can also emerge in the absence of such previous bonds, due to survivors sharing a sense of common fate. Common fate seems to operate in sudden-impact disasters (e.g., bombings), but to our knowledge, no research has explored social identity processes in “rising-tide” incidents. We interviewed an opportunity sample of 17 residents of York, United Kingdom, who were involved in the 2015–2016 floods. Using thematic and discourse analysis, we investigated residents' experiences of the floods and the strategic function that invocations of community identities perform. We show how shared community identities emerged (e.g., because of shared problems, shared goals, perceptions of vulnerability, and collapse of previous group boundaries) and show how they acted as a basis of social support (both given and expected). The findings serve to further develop the social identity model of collective psychosocial resilience in rising-tide disasters. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Evangelos Ntontis is funded by a Public Health England PhD studentship. Dr Rubin and Dr Amlôt are funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King′s College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • common fate
  • community resilience
  • disaster
  • emergency
  • flood
  • social identity


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