Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

John A. Anderson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Willard W. Radell, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William R. Donner, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between the development of adaptive capacity and disaster response and recovery outcomes. History informs of the devastation and loss of life that occur when disasters strike communities. National-level frameworks and doctrine support the development of community disaster readiness capabilities, or adaptive capacity, as the means to increase favorable outcomes in disaster response and recovery. There is a lack of research, however, to validate the relationship between adaptive capacity development and improved response and recovery outcomes. Using a conceptual framework for establishing resilient communities through adaptive capacity development, this study employed a quantitative methodology, using a cross-sectional survey and existing community demographic data, to explore the development of adaptive capacity and its ability to predict disaster response and recovery outcomes in communities affected by major disaster in 2011. A total of 333 counties and parishes were included in the final sample. Findings from this study indicate that development of adaptive capacity was statistically significant in predicting improved response and recovery outcomes. Additional findings demonstrated that pre-event planning along with response and recovery outcomes were predictors of recovery progression over time.