People with bigger social networks are able to manage their crises more effectively than those who have few friends, according to researchers of University of Arizona. The study findings could have implications for crisis management research today. Researchers at the UA School of Anthropology focused specifically on the period of A.D. 1200-1400, which included the 1276-1299 megadrought in the region that is now the southwestern United States. They found that during the 23-year drought, relationships between many groups grew stronger, as people turned to their neighbors for support and resources, such as food and information. It was seen that the communities with larger social networks had a better chance of being able to withstand the drought without having to migrate, and for a longer period, than the more insular groups.
There was one exception to this finding, the Zuni people who despite not having strong external social networks, remain in western New Mexico to this day. Their unique success probably was because of their large population size and the diversity of resources available within the area they inhabited.
The study will be appear in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.