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Unmet Expectations and Symptoms of Depression among the Three Gorges Project Resettlers

Unmet Expectations and Symptoms of Depression among the Three Gorges Project Resettlers

Social Science Research 40(1): 245-256

To successfully resettle 1.27 million Chinese for the construction of the Three Gorges Project (TGP), the Chinese government employed a new re-resettlement policy which emphasizes infrastructural development of the resettlement sites to assure resettlers a sustainable livelihood following resettlement. Unfortunately, many benefits the policy promised have not materialized. As a result, many resettlers have suffered an increase in depressive symptoms associated with unmet expectations. Using panel data collected before and after relocation from a sample of Three Gorges resettlers, we found that a high proportion of resettlers reported unmet expectations which were significantly associated with an increase in depressive symptoms. Our findings indicate that undeliverable promises can backfire and further aggravate the harm inflicted on the displaced caused by the project-induced displacement. From the perspective of resettlers, a sound coping strategy to minimize the harm caused by the displacement on their mental wellbeing is to expect for the worst.

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Accession: 056765625

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PMID: 21278844

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.09.001

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