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Historical and Cross-Cultural Aspects of Psychology

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Evelin Witruk and Arndt Wilcke

The book contains selected contributions from the international workshop Historical and Cross-Cultural Aspects of Psychology. This was organised by Evelin Witruk and her team at the University of Leipzig in 2009, when Psychology in Leipzig celebrated its 130th and the University of Leipzig its 600 th anniversary. In line with the workshop, this collection represents an interdisciplinary approach to cover and combine different aspects of psychology. It focuses on the origins of Psychology in Leipzig where Wilhelm Wundt founded in 1879 the world’s first Psychological Institute. The contributions regard the history of psychology, the role of this science in regions affected by disasters, and methodical and cross-cultural issues. So this volume intertwines basic research, partly based on or inspired by history, with applied work to promote scientific exchange not just between different countries but also between the different branches of psychology.

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Chapter 2: Psychology in Disaster-Affected Regions

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Chapter 2 Psychology in Disaster-Affected Regions The Role of Sense of Coherence, Coping, and Social Support in Buffering the Traumatic Effects of the 2004 Tsunami in Kerala, India Johanna Sophie von Lieres und Wilkau Amrita University, India Abstract The objective of this study was to determine whether a sense of coherence (SOC), social sup- port, or certain coping styles reduce the level of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or any other psychiatric symptoms following the 2004 tsunami in Kerala, India. A total of 407 in- habitants of the fishing villages along Kerala’s coastline participated in the study, 233 af- fected by the tsunami and 174 not affected. Significant correlations were found between SOC and psychiatric symptoms, as well as between SOC and intrusion symptoms of PTSD. Social support decreases both PTSD and other psychiatric symptoms. Approach coping was associ- ated with higher levels of symptoms, whereas avoidance coping actually decreased the level of symptoms, as is typical for individuals from a collectivistic culture. Key words: Sense of Coherence, Coping, Social Support, Tsunami, Kerala 1 Introduction India was the third country severely affected by the tsunami on December 26, 2004, after Indonesia and Sri Lanka, with the overall death toll being over 16,000 (Mohanty, 2005). Kerala lost an estimated 150 to 200 people. Kollam district in Kerala accounted for the highest toll of 122 followed by Alapuzha with 29 and Ernakulam with 4. Eighty percent of the people affected by the tsu- nami came from fishing communities, who lost their boats...

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