Individual and Community Responses to Trauma and Disaster: The Structure of Human Chaos

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 24, 1995 - Medical - 422 pages
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Coping with disaster is an overwhelming and often baffling task for survivors, rescue workers, and clinicians. This volume looks in depth at how people experience trauma and suggests practical strategies for treatment. The authors examine issues ranging from the biological basis of posttraumatic stress reaction to the psychosocial and fictional construction of terror, and disasters ranging from random acts of violence to war. From Chernobyl to Desert Storm, from Kentucky floods to Norwegian avalanches, the authors explore the effects of trauma on adults and children. They find certain commonalities in human response to disasters of all kinds, and hold that by understanding these partially predictable patterns of reaction, mastery of chaos, and finally recovery can occur. Based on their comprehensive analysis, they suggest disaster intervention strategies that emphasize recognition of the psychological effects of trauma, as well as preparedness and prevention.

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Trauma and disaster
The psychology of terror and its aftermath
Exposure to traumatic death the nature of the stressor
Psychological and psychiatric aspects of technological disasters
Traumatic effects of accidents
The human experience of earthquakes
Psychological effects of toxic contamination
Social support and perceived control as moderators of responses to dioxin and flood exposure
Group reactions to trauma an avalanche accident
Community responses to disaster the Gander plane crash
Children of war and children at war child victims of terrorism in Mozambique
Stress and coping with the trauma of war in the Persian Gulf the hospital ship USNS Comfort
Longterm sequelae of combat in World War II Korea and Vietnam a comparative study
Psychophysiological aspects of chronic stress following trauma
Individual and community reactions to the Kentucky floods findings from a longitudinal study of older adults
The structure of human chaos

Debriefing following traumatic exposure
Relocation stress following natural disasters

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About the author (1995)

Robert J. Ursano is Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. He is also the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS).


Beverley Raphael is Professor of Population Mental Health and Disasters and Director of the Centre for Disasters and Terrorism at the University of Western Sydney. She is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, at the University of Queensland and holds professorial appointments at the Universities of Sydney, New South Wales and Newcastle.

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