American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 273–287

The continuity principle: A unified approach to disaster and trauma

  • Haim Omer
  • Nahman Alon

DOI: 10.1007/BF02506866

Cite this article as:
Omer, H. & Alon, N. Am J Commun Psychol (1994) 22: 273. doi:10.1007/BF02506866


The continuity principle stipulates that through all stages of disaster, management and treatment should aim at preserving and restoring functional, historical, and interpersonal continuities, at the individual, family, organization, and community levels. Two misconceptions work against this principle and lead to decisional errors: the “abnormalcy bias” which results in underestimating victims' ability to cope with disaster, and the “normalcy bias” which results in underestimating the probability or extent of expected disruption. This article clarifies these biases and details the potential contributions of the continuity principle at the different stages of the disaster.

Key words

continuity principle disaster trauma 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haim Omer
    • 1
  • Nahman Alon
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTel Aviv UniversityRamat-AvivIsrael

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