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Understanding the psychological impact of unconventional gas developments in affected communities

Po-Hsin Lai, Kevin D. Lyons, Siegfried P. Gudergan and Sidsel Grimstad

Energy Policy, 2017, vol. 101, issue C, 492-501

Abstract: The rapid growth of unconventional gas developments has created widespread community concerns in many parts of the world. This study adds to the literature on the psychological impact of related developments by drawing upon Conservation of Resources (COR) theory and the concept of place attachment. In providing a holistic framework, it examines community residents’ appraisals of and emotional responses to impacts of an unconventional gas development, and establishes heterogeneity in these appraisals and responses among residents. The findings show that perceived negative impact on resources that encompass personal and communal resources due to the development contributes to negative emotions that can lead to deteriorated psychological well-being. Conversely, perceived positive impact on resources is conducive to positive emotions that in turn can foster residents’ psychological well-being. The findings further reveal that perceived impact on place attachment partially mediates the relationship between perceived impact on resources and negative emotions. Importantly, these effects differ in strength for residents characterized by different ages, lengths of residence, and distances of their properties from the development. Implications for how this framework can be applied to minimize unwanted impacts and be incorporated into social license that goes beyond the current model of community consultation are discussed.

Keywords: Unconventional gas development; Conservation of resources theory; Place attachment; Psychological well-being (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:101:y:2017:i:c:p:492-501