Shale Gas Development and Community Distress: Evidence from England

Feizel Aryee, Anna Szolucha, Paul B. Stretesky, Damien Short, Michael A. Long, Liesel A. Ritchie, Duane A. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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This research examines psychosocial stress associated with shale gas development through the narratives of residents and the Revised Impact of Event Scale (IES-R). We carried out our research in three of England’s communities impacted by shale gas development. To gather data, we conducted qualitative interviews and engaged in participant observation in all three communities and conducted a quantitative survey of residents. From our qualitative interviews it was apparent that the residents we spoke with experienced significant levels of stress associated with shale gas development in each community. Importantly, residents reported that stress was not only a reaction to development, but a consequence of interacting with industry and decision makers. Our quantitative findings suggest that a significant portion of residents 14.1% living near the shale gas sites reported high levels of stress (i.e., scoring 24 or more points) even while the mean IES-R score of residents living around the site is relatively low (i.e., 9.6; 95% CI 7.5–11.7). We conclude that the experiences, of the three English communities, reported in the qualitative interviews and quantitative survey are consistent with the reports of stress in the United States for those residents who live in shale gas communities. We therefore suggest that psychosocial stress is an important negative externality, which needs to be taken seriously by local planning officers and local planning committees when considering exploration and development permits for shale gas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5069
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2020


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