Articles | Volume 13, issue 6
Research article
21 Jun 2013
Research article |  | 21 Jun 2013

Assessing social capacity and vulnerability of private households to natural hazards – integrating psychological and governance factors

J. Werg, T. Grothmann, and P. Schmidt

Abstract. People are unequally affected by extreme weather events in terms of mortality, morbidity and financial losses; this is the case not only for developing, but also for industrialized countries. Previous research has established indicators for identifying who is particularly vulnerable and why, focusing on socio-demographic factors such as income, age, gender, health and minority status. However, these factors can only partly explain the large disparities in the extent to which people are affected by natural hazards. Moreover, these factors are usually not alterable in the short to medium term, which limits their usefulness for strategies of reducing social vulnerability and building social capacity. Based on a literature review and an expert survey, we propose an approach for refining assessments of social vulnerability and building social capacity by integrating psychological and governance factors.