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Communicating Hope and Resilience Across the Lifespan


Gary A. Beck and Thomas Socha

From serious illness to natural disasters, humans turn to communication as a major source of strength to help us bounce back and to keep growing and thriving.
Communicating Hope and Resilience Across the Lifespan addresses the various ways in which communication plays an important role in fostering hope and resilience. Adopting a lifespan approach and offering a new framework to expand our understanding of the concepts of «hope» and «resilience» from a communication perspective, contributors highlight the variety of «stressors» that people may encounter in their lives. They examine connections between the cognitive dimensions of hope such as self-worth, self-efficacy, and creative problem solving. They look at the variety of messages that can facilitate or inhibit experiencing hope in relationships, groups, and organizations. Other contributors look at how communication that can build strengths, enhance preparation, and model successful adaptation to change has the potential to lessen the negative impact of stress, demonstrating resilience.
As an important counterpoint to recent work focusing on what goes wrong in interpersonal relationships, communication that has the potential to uplift and facilitate responses to stressful circumstances is emphasized throughout this volume. By offering a detailed examination of how to communicate hope and resilience, this book presents practical lessons for individuals, marriages, families, relationship experts, as well as a variety of other practitioners.
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Chapter Ten. When All Seems Lost: Building Hope Through Communication After Natural Disasters


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When All Seems Lost: Building Hope Through Communication After Natural Disasters

Andy J. Merolla Baldwin Wallace University

Natural disasters greatly affect people’s lives. They demolish people’s sense of normalcy, interfere with their long-term goals, and, at their worst, take lives and destroy communities. The effects of disasters, moreover, can be felt across generations and take many years to recover from. Yet, even when all seems lost, humans appear to have a remarkable capacity for recovery and renewal (Joseph, 2011; Shalev & Errera, 2008). This chapter explores the complex ways that disasters affect people and the ways people respond to disaster-related trauma. Special focus is placed on the concept of hope and its role in disaster readiness and recovery. In particular, the chapter aims to show how hope is created through communication and contributes to coping and resilience. It is argued that hope mitigates the initial onslaught of stressors, shapes immediate and post-disaster goal pursuits, and promotes adaptive recollections of events in ways that support personal growth and strong communities. The chapter begins by reviewing existing literature on the commonness of disasters, as well as the effects of disasters on individuals, families, and communities.

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