Resilience and wellbeing of small inland communities: Community assets as key determinants

Darryl Maybery*, Rodney Pope, Gene Hodgins, Yvonne Hitchenor, Amanda Shepherd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The current climatic conditions and ongoing changes in the farming sector constitute stressful circumstances that impact on the well-being of many Australian rural communities. In these circumstances, small towns and communities are at particular risk due to their relative isolation from services and resources. However, rural communities are noted for being resilient, or able to successfully adapt to stressful circumstances, with well-being both a determinant and outcome of this resilience. This study operationalised a model of resilience, risk and well-being that examined community assets important for resilience of small, inland rural communities. Methods: 102 participants from eight outer regional or remote towns and communities in the northern Riverina region of New South Wales (Australia) completed survey items developed from the community resilience model and the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI). Results: Social assets including parents and citizens associations (P&C), sporting clubs and groups, and service agency assets including schools were rated as the assets of most benefit to the community and the PWI results were similar to Australian norms, suggesting these communities were resilient. Conclusions: Identifying schools, sporting and other clubs as prominent social assets highlights the role these rural agencies play to maintain and sustain relationships and connectedness of community members. When developing interventions or support services, program and policy makers should recognise these social assets for their contribution to the resilience and well-being of rural environments. The model of community resilience provides a framework that is useful for future policy development, planning, interventions and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-339
Number of pages14
JournalRural Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


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