Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2022
Relocation of residents to a safer location may be necessary when homes are destroyed during a natural disaster. Relocation involves economic hardship and separation from one’s community, where support systems and safety networks are established. These changes compound stress reactions to the trauma of the disaster, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. This chapter reviews our work in Armenia and the work of others who studied the effects of relocation on stress reactions after natural disasters worldwide. It also describes variables involved with relocation which potentially impact the severity of stress reactions, such as degree of exposure to the disaster, timing, duration and the place of relocation (within or outside the city) and the extent of losses (including the life of family members, home, employment, and social support) necessitating relocation. The general consensus is that relocation contributes to the emotional sequelae of a disaster. The studies describe factors that minimize the impact of relocation to stress reactions. A consistent mitigating factor is emotional support. Recommendations for future research are included in this chapter for a better understanding of the effect of variables involved with relocation on stress reaction.