Chapter 2: Psychology in Disaster-Affected Regions
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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