The Impact of the 2004 Tsunami on Coastal Thai Communities: Assessing Adaptive Capacity

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The suddenness and scale of the 26 December 2004 tsunami and the challenges posed to affected communities highlighted the benefits of their members having a capacity to confront and adapt to the consequences of such a disaster. 2 Research into adaptive capacity or resilience has been conducted almost exclusively with Western populations. This paper describes an exploratory study of the potential of a measure of collective efficacy developed for Western populations to predict the capacity of members of a collective society, Thai citizens affected by the 2004 tsunami, to confront effectively the recovery demands associated with this disaster. Following a demonstration that this measure could predict adaptive capacity, the role of religious affiliation, ethnicity and place of residence in sustaining collective efficacy is discussed. The implications of the findings for future research on, and intervention to develop, adaptive capacity among Thai citizens in particular and collectivist societies in general are discussed.