Socio-Psychological Recovery From Disasters Through the Neighborhood Storytelling Network: Empirical Research in Shinchimachi, Fukushima
More than eight years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, but recovery efforts in Fukushima are still under way. This study focuses on socio-psychological recovery from the triple disasters in 2011, which involved the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. Based on communication infrastructure theory, the study examines how people’s connections to their neighborhood storytelling network and collective efficacy influence their socio-psychological recovery measured by life satisfaction and future outlook. Based on a survey conducted in Shinchimachi, Fukushima, the study found that residents who are more connected to their neighborhood storytelling network—consisting of community organizations, local media, and interpersonal storytelling—are likely to have higher life satisfaction and a more positive future outlook. In addition, collective efficacy was found to have positive effects on life satisfaction and future outlook. Implications of the study for disaster research and intervention are discussed.