Untapped: Elderly civic engagement in the rebuilding of the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Brent D. Hales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


During the early morning of 29 September 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast. From the hurricane and resulting floods, 1836 people lost their lives as a tidal surge as high as 30 feet swept inland. Residents of all demographic sectors were affected. Many residents became engaged in the rebuilding of the region. However, little was understood of the factors contributing to or limiting civic engagement by elderly residents. Thus, an assessment of the civic engagement by 199 older residents of Jackson County, MS was undertaken. Findings indicate that a majority of the senior residents of Coastal County desire to be civically involved. However, respondents noted issues of health, finances, not being informed of opportunities, and transportation as barriers to civic engagement. Income and the perception of need and community attachment were significant predictors of civic engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-613
Number of pages15
JournalCommunity Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
To address the civic engagement of elderly residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, 199 elderly residents were surveyed as part of the Community Experience Partnership: Engaging Older Adults in Equitable Gulf Coast Rebuilding for Civic Good Program funded by the Foundation for the Mid-South. Respondents were asked to indicate levels of community involvement, their community issues of interest, and basic demographic questions. Respondents were identified by partnering community-based senior advocacy programs. The sample of respondents was selected using a convenience sample with representatives according to age, sex, socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic background, and marital status, education, and employment status. All communities in the county were sampled, and seniors unable to complete the questionnaire due to physical limitations were aided by attending, trained surveyors. Data were collected during a two-month period in 2007. The surveys were provided to the author who then entered and cleaned the data. The data were analyzed using bivariate correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis (OLS). The independent variables are discusses next.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Senior Disengagement Theory
  • civic engagement
  • community attachment
  • community field theory
  • elderly

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