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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: May 2010

10 - Social and Cognitive Frameworks for Understanding the Mental Health Consequences of Disasters

from Part Three - Vulnerability And Resilience


This chapter focuses on social and cognitive theories that have gained significant empirical support in predicting mental health consequences of disaster. Social cognitive theory (SCT) offers a construct for community response to natural disasters. The challenge of operationalizing SCT within the disaster recovery environment is finding ways to measure the bidirectional relationships between environmental conditions, self-evaluative appraisals, and behavior across time. Behavioral assessments of coping rely on noncontextualized assessments of coping strategies that are thought to cut across stress domains. The transactional theory of stress is a theory directly addressing the interactive process between environmental stress demands and the individual. Conservation of resources (COR) theory emphasizes that both individual and environmental factors are predictive of stress. The social support deterioration deterrence (SSDD) model is a dynamic picture of the interplay between social resources that flow into disaster affected communities and the availability of social support perceived by the individual.

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