Navigation Links
Psychological impact of Japan disaster will be felt 'for some time to come'
Date:3/17/2011

The psychological impact of natural disasters such as the Japan earthquake can be revealed in the way people inherently respond to unpredictable situations, according to a psychology expert at Queen Mary, University of London.

Dr Magda Osman, Psychology Lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, and author of Controlling Uncertainty: Decision-making and Learning in Complex Worlds, said the disaster had a devastating immediate effect on tens of thousands of people in Japan but the true psychological impact will be felt "for some time to come".

"A disaster like the Japan earthquake has such wide-ranging implications, especially on the psychological well-being of those affected," Dr Osman said.

"After a disaster, typically small communities become incredibly co-operative and pull together to help each other and start the rebuilding process. There's an immediate response where people start to take control of the situation, begin to deal with it and assess and respond to the devastation around them.

"The problem is that we aren't very good at calculating the long-term effects of disasters. After about two months of re-building and cleaning up we tend to experience a second major slump when we realise the full severity of the situation in the longer term. This is what we need to be wary of because this triggers severe depression."

Dr Osman, who works in Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said as soon as there is a disaster, there is often a rapid increase of mental health problems in the people who have been affected. This is because natural disasters threaten our sense of control in the world.

"Our sense of control is like a mental engine, it's like an adaptive driving force that helps us stay motivated. When bad, unpredictable events happen we don't feel we have any effect over anything and this is when we start to lose self esteem," she said.

People who live in areas which are prone to disasters such as in Japan are often prepared through simulation exercises. The importance of this is not only to rehearse what to do in the event of a disaster, but also to increase our sense of control over the situation. This is can be a powerful way to create resilience, according to Dr Osman.

The lab experiments Dr Osman has conducted show that even when a situation is unpredictable and seems to be spiralling out of control, and when people are encouraged to believe they have control over the situation, they tend to be better able to exert control. She said: "Ironically, the illusion of control can actually help to generate a real sense of control."

"Setting goals is the best way of helping to exert or take back control. Working towards goals helps us to gain a lot of information about a situation. Goals act like a yardstick to compare future events against. This helps to reduce our feelings of insecurity because it gives us a way of interpreting the good and bad experiences that happen.

"Evidence from the lab suggests that we don't always do what is best to gain information and gain control in the long term; typically we overreact to massive changes, when the best thing to do is be steadfast."


'/>"/>

Contact: Bridget Dempsey
b.dempsey@qmul.ac.uk
44-207-882-7454
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study finds psychological, environmental benefits of horticultural activities
2. Devastating psychological effects of BP Gulf disaster are explored in Ecopsychology journal
3. Social ecology: Lost and found in psychological science
4. New psychological intervention program shows promise in helping those with bowel diseases
5. Eczema in early childhood and psychological problems
6. Study looks at psychological impact of gene test for breast cancer
7. HITs impact on health disparities: Will it help or harm?
8. Environmental impact of animal waste
9. For first time, scientists show an HIV vaccine impacts the genetic makeup of the virus
10. Tweeting teenage songbirds reveal impact of social cues on learning
11. Maternal fructose intake impacts female and male fetuses differently
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/20/2017)... , July 20, 2017 Delta (NYSE: DAL ) ... any Delta aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board ... Delta,s biometric boarding ... Club is now integrated into the boarding process to allow eligible ...
(Date:5/16/2017)...  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an innovative ... verification solutions, announced today they will participate as a ... thru May 17, 2017, in Washington D.C.,s ... Identity impacts the lives of billions ... evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to nearly ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... -- Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing solutions, ... which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing TeraFaces ... will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo Big ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The award-winning American Farmer ... first quarter 2018. American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With ... with the challenge of how to continue to feed a growing nation. At the ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The Giving Tree Wellness Center ... the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into their wellness and ... , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving Tree’s two founders, ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding into Analytical ... broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services will leverage ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel Prize in ... Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and ... cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped to broaden ... biology community. The winners worked with systems manufactured ... produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of protein structures ...
Breaking Biology Technology: