Understanding the psychological and societal response of individuals, groups, authorities, and media to toxic hazards.

Julie Cwikel , Johan M. Havenaar, Evelyn J. Bromet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Ecological disasters are breaches of public safety and environmental security caused by natural or human processes due to ignorance, accident, mismanagement, or design. This chapter focuses on the psychological, or stress-related health effects of exposure following industrial disasters, and the interactions between the biological and psychological. The authors present a social epidemiological model for understanding the social and psychological impact of ecological disasters. The conservation of resources model and the amplification of risk model are applied in conjunction with the social epidemiological framework, which combines concepts such as host-agent-environmental interactions with concepts from the behavioral sciences, such as coping, stress, and community resources, with those typically used in public health, such as risk assessment. An example is provided on the basis of the experience of one of the authors who used a social epidemiological approach in a health care program for immigrants to Israel from areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster. The example shows that the handling of risk communication by governmental and nongovernmental authorities and health care professionals can mitigate the long-term psychological fallout when ecological disasters occur. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationToxic turmoil
Subtitle of host publicationPsychological and societal consequences of ecological disasters.
EditorsJohan M. Havenaar, Julie G. Cwikel, Evelyn J. Bromet
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherKluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)0306467844
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002

Publication series

NamePlenum series on stress and coping


  • Disasters
  • Industrial Accidents
  • Risk Management
  • Social Support
  • Stress Reactions
  • Safety


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