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Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 353–360 | Cite as

Acute postdisaster coping and adjustment

  • Carol S. North
  • Elizabeth M. Smith
  • Robert E. McCool
  • Patrick E. Lightcap
Brief Report

Abstract

This study examines coping strategies and short-term adjustment in survivors of a tornado. Forty-two subjects were interviewed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule/Disaster Supplement (DIS/DS) within 1 month of the event. Rates of psychiatric disorder in survivors were low, and even rates of symptoms were not especially high. Subjects turned to family and friends for support as their most frequent coping method. While many utilized active coping techniques such as talking and reading about it, others dealt with their experience by avoidance, trying not to think about the tornado. Many also reported that religious and philosophical perspectives helped them. Few required medication to relieve their upset, and none depended on alcohol.

Key words

disaster victims stress coping 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol S. North
    • 1
  • Elizabeth M. Smith
    • 1
  • Robert E. McCool
    • 1
  • Patrick E. Lightcap
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. Louis
  2. 2.Apalachee Center for Human ServicesMadison

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