Introduction to Psychology of Disasters.

Mitchell, J.T. (2019). Introduction to Psychology of Disasters. Video. Florida Institute of Technology. Retrieved from: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


Supposing that a small town in an urban area was deeply affected by an unexpected explosion that destroyed commercial and residential buildings, as well as a transit hub, it can be well assumed that victims of this disaster will be affected physically and mentally. Interventions should be followed by a disaster immediately as victims might be suffering from physical injuries as well as mental ones; a person may develop psychological problems such as PTSD, depression, dissociative responses, anxiety, and other psychiatric problems (Myers & Wee, 2005). Normally, the type of interventions given to victims would depend on what kind of disaster they’ve experienced. In this case, its an explosion; however, it’s not exactly clear what has caused it. Failure of infrastructure and a terrorist attack were a possible explanation for the disaster, but neither is certain. With a lack of information after 24 hours arises uncertainty and rumors. The public may feel confused, scared, and anxious as they are left in the dark on this matter. With no certain explanation for the cause of the explosion, one would involuntarily imagine the worst possible scenario. According to Comfort, Ko, and Zagorecki (2004), access to core information enhances the efficiency of response actions and increases coordination throughout the network of responding organizations.

Other than the causalities that had disturbed the victims, there are also social and psychological factors that interrelate with this disaster and those affected by it. Social factors include selfishness, cultural conflict, economics, poverty, race, and ethnic backgrounds (Mitchell, 2019). These factors are often seen as preventable yet can cause disasters and bring so much damage to any community. On the other hand, psychological factors include fear, failure to communicate, pride, cruelty, and failure to communicate (Mitchell, 2019). These factors are also preventable and can cause severe damage as well.

The best way recovery teams can aide these victims is by applying the following these steps: immediacy in timing of the intervention, social support and listening, catharsis, commonality of experience as shared by those who participated in the same or similar crisis, cognitive processing of the crisis, anticipatory guidance, and educating, normalizing, and teaching coping responses (Everly & Mitchell, 2008). Furthermore, it was found that some of the best ways to cure those who experienced a disaster is by interpersonal learning, ventilating emotions, cohesiveness, personal insight, and installation of hope (Everly & Mitchell, 2008). Finally, because in this case, no information has been given to the public as to what caused the explosion, I believe it is essential that authorities ensure them that there are no more threats and that the cause of the explosion is under investigation. Furthermore, I think it would help if authorities share what they have learned from the scene of the disaster (such as clues). Even if it may seem insignificant, it will relieve some of the victims.


Myers, D. & Wee, D.F. (2005) Disaster mental health services. A primer for practitioners. New

Comfort, L. K., Ko, K., & Zagorecki, A. (2004). Coordination in rapidly evolving disaster response systems: The role of information. The American Behavioral Scientist, 48(3), 295. doi:10.1177/0002764204268987

Mitchell, J.T. (2019). Preventable disasters in history: The role of human behavior [Video File]. Retrieved from:

Everly, G.S. & Mitchell, J.T. (2008). Integrative crisis intervention and disaster mental health. Ellicott City, MD: Chevron Publishing


When a community responds to an event the responses can all vary. These responses are based on several factors. Interaction of social context, gender makeup, past experiences, and how they will affect the future experiences. All these factors can lead to different types of responses.

Health problems such as fever, vomiting, and many other forms
Social problems such as financial problems if everything was lost. Family responses because everyone in the family will respond differently.
Psychological issues such as PTSD, Depression, fear of going out in the public, and fear of a repeat episode.
Physical injuries and psychological issues will range depending on how close an individual was to the explosion. Those that were closer or witnessed it may have a larger issue with physical injuries. Even those that were not there but lost everything will suffer more from psychological issues.

The type of intervention can also affect the response of how people react to the explosion. If people feel like they cannot be protected, then the more sever the psychological affect it will have that they are not safe and cannot be protected. The type of help that they receive can be a wide range. The main response should be the same to everyone and that is to keep calm. The reassurance of this will help with most all people. People that have a more severe reaction may need to seek professional and continued therapy to help overcome their fears. “FEMA and State and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance. The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. is a national hotline dedicated to providing year-round immediate crisis counseling for individuals experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.” (“Coping with Disaster |”, 2019)

Coping with Disaster | (2019). Retrieved from