A Propositional Paradigm for Estimating the Impact of Disasters on Mental Health

August 1985 (VOL. 3, NO. 2)

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This paper reviews the literature on community-wide disasters and their relationships to subsequent mental health problems. In addition, it describes the theoretical notions of psychological stress which have guided past research and it outlines the dimensions of a comprehensive stress paradigm. This paradigm is based on an integration of research findings from three separate fields of inquiry: disaster research; studies of psychosocial stress; and, psychiatric epidemiology. The theoretical propositions on which the paradigm is based are outline and offered as guidelines for future research. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of some of the problems confronting researchers interested in disasters and their mental health sequelae.