Fostering psychosocial resilience when facing heatwaves: a longitudinal analysis of citizens evaluation of demands and coping resources

09:00 Thursday 30 May


Room S16


Samuel Domingos (Portugal) 1; Rui Gaspar (Portugal) 2,3; João Marôco (Portugal) 1; Hugo Fonseca (Portugal) 4

1 - ISPA - Instituto Universitário, William James Center for Research; 2 - Católica Research Centre for Psychological, Family and Social Wellbeing (CRC-W), Universidade Católica Portuguesa; 3 - Universidade do Algarve, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais; 4 - ISCTE-IUL, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

There is evidence that heatwaves are not only becoming more frequent, but also more intense and long-lasting (EASAC, 2018, Lefevre et al., 2015; Santos, 2006; Spence, Pidgeon, & Uzzell, 2009). This emphasizes the need for more research aimed at fostering society adaptation and resilience to these events (EASAC, 2018; Clayton et al., 2015; Swim et al., 2011; IPCC, 2014; WEF, 2017). One way to promote such goals is through the understanding of human appraisal processes about heatwaves, with a focus on the appraisal of demands posed by those events, and the personal and social resources available to cope with the demands (R/D appraisals). Because “demands appraisals involve the perception or assessment of danger, uncertainty, and required effort inherent to the situation”, and “resources appraisals involve the perception or assessment of knowledge, dispositions, skills, and available external support relevant to situational performance” (Blascovich & Mendes, 2000; Blascovich & Mendes, 2010), it has been shown that by studying these a direct link to people’s coping strategies can be established allowing for evidence that enable the promotion of adaptation and resilience (e.g., Blascovich, 2008; Blascovich & Mendes, 2000; Blaskovich & Mendes, 2010; Gaspar, Barnett, & Seibt, 2015; Skinner & Zimmer-Gembeck, 2015).

With the goal of monitoring the dynamics of R/D appraisals about heatwaves across time and identify practical implications that may enable promoting human adaptation and resilience to heatwaves, a web-based longitudinal study with four measurement points (before the summer, during the summer, during a heat wave, and after the summer) was implemented. Participants were recruited through non-random sampling procedures and invited to participate via email invitation. In each measurement point participants answered a questionnaire made available on the Qualtrics platform, which evaluated their appraisal of demands posed by heatwaves, the available coping resources to deal with those demands, and intentions to implement protective behaviours in the future. Other variables were controlled (e.g., average temperature on response day, geographical location, affective state, attitudes and affect towards heat, risk perception).

Results of this study will be presented at the conference and discussed, focussing on the implications for the promotion of human adaptation and resilience to heatwaves. The goal will be to provide practitioners, policy makers, and other professionals working in the field of climate change with insights that may allow a better understanding about the demands and available coping resources citizens associate with heatwaves, and how to use this knowledge to promote adaptation and resilience.