Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Susan J. Elliott
In the context of siting waste disposal facilities, recent research suggests that the wellbeing of individuals and communities is impacted as much by the siting process as the outcome itself. The study results presented here stem from an ongoing, two-stage quantitative/ qualitative investigation of impacts of the environmental assessment process on individual and community well-being. This research uses a parallel case-study design to investigate two proposed landfill sites in Southern Ontario. Qualitative approaches (indepth interviews (n=36) and media analysis) were used to address the following objectives: to explore the meaning of the landfill siting process by examining resident concerns; to examine the effects of the siting process by documenting psychosocial effects, coping responses, and perceptions of effects on community; and to examine the role of various information sources in influencing risk perception, effects, and coping. Results indicate substantial impacts on individual and community well-being, including reports of stress, hostility, and divisions within the community. The experience of psychosocial impacts, as well as the effectiveness of both action and emotion-focussed coping strategies, appear to be influenced by perceptions of uncertainty, intensity of concern, and exposure to information sources. Further, the media analysis revealed that impacts were exacerbated by the nature of reporting in the local print media. These findings have implications for the recently revised environmental assessment process in Ontario.
Wakefield, Sarah, "Psychosocial Impacts of the Landfill Siting Process in Two Southern Ontario Communities" (1998). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7587.
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