Nr. 5-6 /2017 -5
The topic of natural and human-made disasters constitutes an area of interdisciplinary concern to scientists from all over the world, of equally great interest to those who study the exact sciences as well as to those researchers of the soft sciences, which includes sociology and the humanities in general. Although, quite understandably, the scientists in this domain have to date largely concerned themselves with the more visible aspects of disasters and their immediate and most dramatic consequences- the unfortunate loss of life, limb, and property being the most remarkable examples ‒ there has to date been a relative lacuna of research concerning the less material, though no less relevant, consequences of such events.The present article proposes an analytical approach to the sociological study of the psycho-social aftermath of natural disasters, an approach which aims to synthesize a dual theoretic-conceptual and methodological mode of inquiry. One of the goals of this study is to achieve a better understanding of the social implications of the disturbances to individuals̕ behaviors and their psychosomatic after-effects in the wake of natural disasters. Towards this goal, the present article will review some of the approaches to this specialized line of inquiry undertaken to date at an international level, and will address a number of salient aspects of this phenomenon, including individuals̕ emotional responses following natural disasters, and the manifestations of such responses in their various stages; factors that may lead to the greater vulnerability of certain people and populations to such traumatizing events; as well as factors both among individuals and within their social groupings that may increase the likelihood of resilience and recovery. The present study will conclude by offering a methodological approach to understanding and evaluating the psychological impact of natural disasters upon society.
Keyswords: disaster, psychological impact, emotional reaction, psychological resilience, psychological vulnerability.