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The correlations between livelihood capitals and perceived recovery: A longitudinal study in China after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake

Ziqiang Han (School of Political Science and Public Administration, Shandong University, Jinan, China) (Center for Crisis Management Research, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Lei Wang (Department of Neurology, Rocket Army Characteristic Medical Center, Beijing, China)
Jianwen Wei (School of Sociology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 4 March 2020

Issue publication date: 12 March 2021



This study examines the recovery of households after disasters from the sustainable livelihood approach (SLA) perspective.


This study analyzes the perception of recovery by using a longitudinal household survey data set collected from a Chinese county devastated by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. The analysis compares the changes of livelihood capitals (financial, natural, physical, social, human) between 2012 and 2009 and recovery perception.


The results demonstrate that both the current status of financial, natural, and social capital and the changes of the capitals between 2009 and 2012 are positively correlated with the perceived level of recovery. The associations between the current status and the change of physical capital and recovery perception are insignificant. In contrast, with a greater change of human capital between 2009 and 2012, participants have a lower perception of recovery.


By investigating a longitudinal data, this study indicates that (1) household recovery should be considered as multidimensional, (2) the SLA could be a feasible framework to measure recovery, and (3) individual's recovery perception is dependent on the various dimensions of recovery measures.



This study is funded by National Social Science Foundation of China “The Study of Modes of Wenchuan earthquake recovery and sustainable development (2008–2018)” (No. 17ASH007); Shenzhen Social Science Research Grant (SZ2019B016) and Beijing Normal University Think Tank Project “Researches on disaster prevention, reduction and relief and coping with disaster modernization”.


Han, Z., Wang, L. and Wei, J. (2021), "The correlations between livelihood capitals and perceived recovery: A longitudinal study in China after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 194-208.



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