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A Qualitative Exploration of the Effects of Mountaintop Removal on the Wellness of Central Appalachians Living Near Surface Mines

Cordial, Paige A Qualitative Exploration of the Effects of Mountaintop Removal on the Wellness of Central Appalachians Living Near Surface Mines. [Dissertation]

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Abstract

Mountaintop Removal coal mining (MTR) and other forms of large scale surface mining have been linked with a number of deleterious environmental, economic, community, and physical health effects in Central Appalachia. However, researchers have yet to give much attention to the possible mental health effects of MTR on those directly affected by it and a comprehensive picture of the effects of surface mining on the overall wellness of residents has not been developed. In Central Appalachia, effects of environmental problems are compounded by pre-existing social and economic inequalities. Past research and anecdotal reports suggest that MTR may negatively affect the overall wellness of those who live close to surface mines. I used grounded theory methods of data collection and analysis to explore the overall effects of MTR on wellness in Central Appalachia. Focus group interviews were conducted in six different communities across the region: two in Southern West Virginia, two in Eastern Kentucky, and two in Southwestern Virginia. Separate focus groups were conducted with people for and people against MTR so that my research would not result in further community divisions surrounding the issue. Results indicated pervasive negative effects on wellness that align with and extend previous research and anecdotal reports. Problems with emotional wellness in relationship to surface mining were reported by many participants and were, in some cases, severe. There were few significant differences between the opinions of those for and those against surface mining about its effect on wellness.

Item Type: Dissertation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Paige M. Cordial
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2014 13:57
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014 13:57
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/115

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