Conservation of resources and coping self-efficacy predicting distress following a natural disaster: A causal model analysis where the environment meets the mind

Charles C. Benight, Gail Ironson, Kelli Klebe, Charles S Carver, Christina Wynings, Kent Burnett, Debra Greenwood, Andrew Baum, Neil Schneiderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

129 Scopus citations


Disaster research has increasingly examined how personal characteristics mediate emotional recovery following disaster exposure. We investigated the importance of lost resources, coping self-efficacy, and coping behavior as important variables in acute disaster reaction and medium range disaster recovery following Hurricane Andrew. One hundred and eighty participants living in southern Dade county completed the initial phase of the study (1-4 months post-hurricane), with 135 individuals completing the second wave (8-12 months post-hurricane). Results confirmed that lost resources, coping self-efficacy, and coping behavior are important in understanding psychological reactivity following a natural disaster. These variables together provided the best fitted causal model for describing psychological reactions to the hurricane over time. Results are discussed in relation to how coping self-efficacy may serve as an important intrapersonal factor that mediates how lost resources are managed and how effective coping ensues. Implications for clinical interventions are also addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-126
Number of pages20
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Coping
  • Coping self-efficacy
  • Disaster
  • Lost resources
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

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