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Tsunami in Kerala, India: Long-Term Psychological Distress, Sense of Coherence, Social Support, and Coping in a Non-Industrialized Setting

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Sophia von Lieres

This study assesses the long-term psychological consequences after the 2004 Asian tsunami in Kerala, India. Participants are the inhabitants of Kerala’s coastal regions. The results indicated that the participants who were affected by the tsunami showed significantly greater psychological distress and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than a control group. In addition, it could be shown that protective factors, such as perceived social support, certain coping strategies, and a sense of coherence, could decrease the level of symptoms. Perceived social support, in particular, decreased symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and a strong sense of coherence mitigated psychological distress. Avoidance coping was found to be more effective in decreasing levels of traumatic stress in this non-industrialized, collectivistic cultural setting.

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Design: © Olaf Gloeckler, Atelier Platen, Friedberg Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Von Lieres, Johanna Sophie, 1978- Tsunami in Kerala, India : long-term psychological distress, sense of coherence, social support, and coping in a non-industrialized setting / Johanna Sophie von Lieres. pages cm. — (Beiträge zur Pädagogischen und Rehabilitations- psychologie, ISSN 1865-083X ; Bd. 5) ISBN 978-3-631-62712-9 1. Post-traumatic stress disorder—India—Kerala. 2. Indian Ocean Tsunami, 2004. I. Title. RC552.P67.V66 2013 616.85'210095483—dc23 2013007563 15 ISSN 1865-083X ISBN 978-3-631-62712-9 © Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Frankfurt am Main 2013 All rights reserved. Peter Lang Edition ist ein Imprint der Peter Lang GmbH. Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main · Bern · Bruxelles · New York · Oxford · Warszawa · Wien All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems. www.peterlang.de I dedicate this research work to Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma). “’My’ house, ‘my’ life, ‘my’ belongings, ‘my’ children – all disappeared in the blink of an eye. Unexpected situations like this teach us that nothing is really ours.” Amma Tamil Nadu, February 12, 2005 (Mata Amritanandamayi Math, 2007, p.76)

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