Weighing the costs of disaster: Consequences, risks, and resilience in individuals, families, and communities

George A. Bonanno, Chris R. Brewin, Krzysztof Kaniasty, Annette M. La Greca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

444 Scopus citations

Abstract

Disasters typically strike quickly and cause great harm. Unfortunately, because of the spontaneous and chaotic nature of disasters, the psychological consequences have proved exceedingly difficult to assess. Published reports have often overestimated a disaster's psychological cost to survivors, suggesting, for example, that many if not most survivors will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); at the same time, these reports have underestimated the scope of the disaster's broader impact in other domains. We argue that such ambiguities can be attributed to methodological limitations. When we focus on only the most scientifically sound research-studies that use prospective designs or include multivariate analyses of predictor and outcome measures-relatively clear conclusions about the psychological parameters of disasters emerge. We summarize the major aspects of these conclusions in five key points and close with a brief review of possible implications these points suggest for disaster intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-49
Number of pages49
JournalPsychological Science in the Public Interest, Supplement
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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