When the subjective stress of the flood event was considered as a measure of vulnerability, introducing the social dimension revealed the importance of social inequalities in vulnerability to flooding. In the model shown in Table 6.21, three flood characteristics, contamination of flood waters, the extent, and to a lesser degree, the depth of flooding were important predictors. Warning lead time emerged as a weak predictor of reduced stress. However, the inclusion of social and dwelling variables greatly enhanced the albeit still limited explanatory power of the model with 18% of the variance in subjective stress explained by the predictors. In this model living in lower house price and thus less affluence areas was a predictor of higher stress levels and being in social grades AB was a predictor of lower stress levels. Renting the dwelling was another factor reflecting social disadvantage that was a predictor of higher stress levels, although not a very significant one (not significant at <0.05 level). Gender was a factor for stress, as it was for worst time GHQ12 scores, with men as predictors of lower scores. There were some factors in the model that were counter to expectations although generally consistent with the bi-variate analyses. Thus living alone was a predictor of lower stress scores. The same was true of being in the 65 and over age group.
Table 6.21: Social, dwelling and flood event characteristics and stress and overall severity
Stress of the flood event
Number of cases = 816, R2 = 0.189, R2 (adjusted) = 0. 180