Press Releases
Social resilience

Hope and morale help in crises

Hope and morale, trust in leaders and community ties create a more robust and actionable attitude in the face of a crisis than abstract fear and a perceived threats. These results emerge from a large-scale, multi-country comparative investigation of individual, community and societal resilience in countries' responses to the war in Ukraine. The results were presented today by SYRI researchers at a conference in the Senate.

The investigation was conducted late last year in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Georgia. "Czechs experience the highest levels of well-being of all the countries surveyed, especially in terms of family relationships, daily functioning, and feeling safe in their homes. Czech residents perceive the Czech Republic as their home and the vast majority have no intention of leaving the country." said Alice Koubová from the SYRI National Institute. In terms of their own contribution to the crisis, 45% of respondents report that people help and care for each other in their neighbourhood, but only 22% think that residents are aware of their roles in emergencies, including the current crisis.

This may be related to other parameters of the survey. "For example, Czechs feel the lowest morale of all the countries surveyed - only 16% think it is at least good in the society. 23% of the population, on the other hand, feel a high level of hopelessness in relation to the future. They are mainly afraid of financial losses, 44% also report feeling threatened by political threats," Koubová said, adding that the hope that the population as individuals, their families, or the Czech Republic would emerge from the war strengthened is low and also the lowest of all the countries surveyed. "There is a contradiction between the fact that we live happily, we are capable of spontaneous mutual aid, but this fact does not build the conviction that we have the capacity to handle crisis periods in such a way that we come out of them stronger in some sense," Koubová said.

Resilience, or the ability to cope successfully with sudden crises and shocks, was assessed by the researchers in relation to three positive (well-being, hope and morale) and three negative indicators (stress symptoms, sense of danger, perceived threats). They were also interested in levels of trust in institutions, feeling safe in their own country and willingness to help others.

"Importantly, it was confirmed that the so-called positive motivations more strongly influence our ability to cope with crises than the so-called negative motivations. In other words, trust in political leadership, hope, morale, and community ties generally have the potential to more strongly influence a coordinated response in a crisis than non-specific fear and set of perceived threats," Koubova said.

In this context, she said the Czech Republic should focus on the following three areas:

    1. Strategic communication and promotion of a shared narrative that includes clear and believable underpinnings, sources of hope and trustworthy reasons to believe in its own role in the Ukrainian war
    2. Ensuring existential (physical, economic and informational) security for the vulnerable and ensuring a bearable distribution of burdens across society.
    3. Emphasis on transforming the culture from punitive to respectful and caring. Promoting a community culture, including an ethical culture of political leadership.

"We need to get in contact with hope because its influence on responsible and coordinated action is stronger than the motivation by fear. A prerequisite for this is therefore a proper distribution of the burden that does not fall only on the heads of those who are less capable to defend themselves. This is really crutial," Koubová added.



doc. RNDr. Mgr. Alice Koubová Ph.D.

Position: Head of research group
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