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Authors: Mahdiani, Hamideh
Höltge, Jan
Theron, Linda
Ungar, Michael
Title: Resilience in times of economic boom and bust : a narrative study of a rural population dependent upon the oil and gas industry
Online publication date: 18-May-2021
Language: english
Abstract: How do residents of small towns that depend on oil and gas extraction or processing industries withstand economic boom and bust cycles? To answer this question, this article reports on a narrative analysis of residents’ life stories gathered from 37 adults of a small town on the Canadian prairies dependent on the oil and gas industry, employing the theories of narrative inquiry and narrative identity. Participants aged 30 to 76 were interviewed and their experiences of living in an unstable economy that is dependent mostly on a single resource extraction industry were explored. Specifically, we asked participants about the effect of economic change on factors related to resilience like family interactions, work choices, educational pathways, and the quality of their social lives. Our analysis of adult narratives looked for patterns in the relationship between risk exposure, promotive and protective factors at multiple systemic levels (individual, relational, cultural), and functional outcomes such as individual coping, community cohesion, and social and economic sustainability. Results show that a strong identity, in particular expressions of personal agency, communion, and engagement in meaning making are contributing factors to adult resilience in a context of economic change. Our results also highlight how positive attitudes towards a better future may inadvertently undermine the need for residents of oil and gas-dependent towns to commit to economic diversification and other potential resilience-promoting strategies.
DDC: 150 Psychologie
150 Psychology
300 Sozialwissenschaften
300 Social sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Document type specification: Scientific article
License: CC BY
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Journal: Journal of adult development
Pages or article number: 149
Publisher: Springer Science + Business Media B.V.
Publisher place: New York, NY u.a.
Issue date: 2020
ISSN: 1573-3440
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s10804-020-09363-z
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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