Why are technological disasters likely to cause more anger and mental health issues?




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Assignment Instructions

Assignment 1:

Choose a kind of childhood trauma and address;

1. How common is it for children to experience this kind of trauma?

2. Are there specific effects that result from this kind of childhood trauma?

3. What kinds of behaviors do children who have undergone this kind of trauma demonstrate?

4. Many trauma interventions are developed from heartfelt concern for children and their families, but have no scientific basis.  Give at least one example of an intervention that is well-meant, but not based in science, and one that has a scientific underpinning.

· Natural disasters

· Terrorism

· Illness

·  Abuse

· Divorce

· Economic stress

· Military family stress, PTSD

The paper will be submitted in MS word or RTF format only. None of the questions are to be re-copied into your paper.

You will be graded on these factors:


Possible   grade

Student   grade


The   paper addresses the issues specified by the assignment



The   author shows insight and sophistication in thinking and writing



Three citations   were used; websites are acceptable



Paper   was well organized and easy to follow. Paper was at least 1000 words, not   including cover page or references. Running head, cover page, abstract, paper   body, in-text citations and Reference page, and overall   formatting were in the American Psychological Association format.



Few   to no spelling, grammar, punctuation or other writing structure errors






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Topics to be covered include:

  • Understanding      natural disasters
  • Dimensions      of impact
  • Stages of      disaster
  • Responding      to disaster
  • Humanitarian      response

Some forms of childhood trauma can be avoided, but others are unavoidable, including the trauma produced by disasters, including both technological and natural disasters. These disasters uproot lives, cause deaths and injuries, and lead to long-term challenges with infrastructure. For families with children, disaster produces loss, financial instability, and significant parental stress.

Technological and Natural Disasters

You can read more about the Deep Water oil spill at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-OILCOMMISSION/pdf/GPO-OILCOMMISSION.pdf

Children are often impacted by events that parents and families cannot control, like technological and natural disasters. These events disrupt daily life in significant ways, leaving children to manage the loss of homes, possessions, or even parents and family members, depending upon the severity of the disaster. Not all disasters can be predicted, and families may have a limited ability to respond, even when the disaster is expected. The impact of natural disasters is most substantial on families with limited financial and social resources, and in regions of the world with limited economic resources.

Natural disasters include weather related disasters (e.g., earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, cyclones, droughts, landslides, fires etc.). Technological accidents also can cause widespread harm both environmentally and to people and animals. Examples of technological accidents can include: oil spills caused by tankers or oil rig accidents, and nuclear accidents etc. Within the last 50 years,  examples include nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania and in Chernobyl. (Silei,  n.d.)  More recent examples include the British Petroleum (BP)oil spill in the Gulf, USA.  Dam collapses are also an example of technological disasters.

Between 1994 and 2013, on average, 218 million people were impacted by natural disasters each year, and there were 68,000 deaths attributable to natural disasters on average each year. In total, over this period, 1.35 million lives were lost to natural disasters. These numbers may help you to recognize the overall scope of natural disasters, and the damage they cause. Many of those 218 million people affected each year will be traumatized by the disaster, and, as you might expect, many of that number are children (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 2015).

  • Role of Population Growth and      Economic Development

Both population growth and economic development play a greater role in the damage done by natural disasters than does climate change. As populations have increased, building and construction in natural flood plains has occurred, increasing the risk of flooding. In addition, this increased population density and economic development in, for instance, an earthquake prone area, places far more people at risk (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 2015).

  • Flooding is the most common form       of natural disaster, accounting for 44 percent of natural disasters       recorded in this period.
  • Storms of all sorts are the       most financially costly form of disaster, costing in total some 936       billion dollars between 1994 and 2013. They are also the second most       deadly form of disaster.
  • Earthquakes, including       tsunamis, have caused the greatest loss of life of any type of natural       disaster during this period. Tsunamis have been responsible for the       greatest loss of life and are approximately 20 times more dangerous than       an earthquake.
  • Drought is also a natural       disaster, although it accounts for only 4 percent of total natural       disasters. It does, however, disproportionately impact developing       countries, particularly those in Africa (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology       of Disasters, 2015).

Difficulty in Making Comparisons

It is difficult to accurately determine which countries are most significantly impacted by natural disasters; in broad terms, the United States and China experience the largest number; however, this has to do with the land mass, rather than anything else.

During the period studied, death rates have increased overall in natural disasters. This is in part because this tallying includes three mega-disasters, the 2004 Asian tsunami, Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and the 2010 Haitian earthquake that caused huge numbers of deaths. The trend is present even when these incidents are removed from the calculations.

Understanding Natural Disasters


  • Weather and Geophysical Causes

Natural disasters include both weather-related and geophysicalphenomena. Geophysical disasters are those caused by shifts and changes in geology. These include earthquakes, tsunamis or seismic sea waves, and volcanic eruptions. Th

Death Rates Vary by Income

Throughout this course, you will consider the impact that economics has on trauma. This impact is also seen in natural disasters, to an extreme degree. More than three times as many people died in low-income countries from natural disasters than in higher income, developed countries. Higher income countries experienced 56 percent of all natural disasters, but only 32 percent of the total lives lost. Lower income countries experienced only 44 percent of all natural disasters, but 68 percent of lives lost between 1994 and 2013 (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 2015).

ese have remained broadly constant through the period. Weather and climate-related natural disasters include hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and other storms have, on the other hand, increased significantly. the period between 2000 and 2015 saw a 44 percent Disaster Risk Reduction

As you learn about natural disasters, you will also learn about disaster risk reduction; knowing who is most impacted by natural disasters and how they are impacted is essential for disaster risk reduction, or lowering the total impact of natural disasters. In addition, these statistics make clear that it is essential to address the impact of natural disasters in developing countries, as well as to more effectively manage flood control, with the increase in flooding events.

increase in weather-related natural disasters over the period of 1994 to 2000 and this occurrence was more than double that of 1980 to 1989. While climate-related factors play a role in this increase in weather-related natural disasters, they are not the primary contributing factor (Centr

Impact Ratio

The impact ratio of people affected by the disaster compared to the rest of the population not affected, or the level of damage caused in relation to the available community resources. If there is a low ratio or proportion of people affected by the disaster, the region will most likely have resources to respond and help the victims. Even a severe disaster is more manageable when it is relatively isolated. For instance, in 2011, an F-5 multiple vortex tornado hit the town of Joplin, Missouri. While the damage within the town was extensive, with some 8,000 buildings entirely destroyed and 161 killed, it was also relatively isolated. The town was, while grieving, able to rebuild effectively and relatively quickly. Surrounding towns and cities, the state government, and federal government were able to step in rapidly to offer housing, clean-up, medical and rebuilding assistance (Gounley, 2016). Even when there is a widespread disaster in a large country, there are significant resources available. In a small country, with limited resources, the impact ratio is quite different.

e for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 2015).

Predictability and Speed

The predictability and speed of the disaster.  Effective warning systems have reduced the severity of injury and damage. Not all disasters can be effectively predicte Predictability and Speed

The predictability and speed of the disaster.  Effective warning systems have reduced the severity of injury and damage. Not all disasters can be effectively predicted, nor may the severity be well-understood. Hurricanes, for instance, can be viewed on radar with relative ease, providing some warning; however, their path may change, and severity may be misgauged in error. Evacuation planning is challenging, especially in large cities.

d, nor may the severity be

Familiarity of the Population

The familiarity of the population to that type of disaster often leads to more preparation, prevention of injury and damage and quicker response to the effects of the disaster. In a community with frequent tornadoes, for instance, many people may have tornado shelters. Schools and other buildings may be built to withstand tornadoes and reduce the risk of serious property damage. This is also true in communities prone to hurricanes or earthquakes. In addition, in regions prone to these types of disasters, people often have access to emergency kits and supplies to maintain their health and wellbeing in the face of a natural disaster.

well-understood. Hurricanes, f

Duration of the Disaster

The duration of the disaster will affect recovery by victims. Short term crises allow populations to recover, clean up, and start healing. Long term threats affect mental health and the ability of the affected to move on with their life. Often continued chronic stress occurs with a long duration of a crisis caused by a natural or technological disaster. Consider, for instance, the difference between an ordinary hurricane evacuation and relatively minimal damage; people in the community flee during the duration of the storm, and return home to clean up. If the storm damage was relatively manageable, life may return to normal within only a week or two. In the event of very serious damage, on the other hand, life of any sort may be significantly disrupted for a very long time.

or instance, can b

Natural vs. Technological Impact

Whether the disaster is classified as natural disaster or a technological disaster, also impacts the response. Technological disasters caused by man, tend to cause more mental health issues and anger about the lack of care taken by others that caused injury. People can, in many cases, come to terms with natural disasters relatively quickly. They may be sad and tragic, but there was nothing to be done to prevent, for instance, a tornado.

e viewed on radar with relative ease, providing some warning; however, their path may change, and severity may be misgauged in error. Evacuation planning is challenging, especially in large cities.

Knowledge Check


Question 1

Which type of disaster causes the greatest loss of life?









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Dimensions of Impact

Families lost not only their homes, but children lost where they played with friends they knew. Family members and friends may have perished in the disaster. They may have also lost their school, their church, the fields where they played sports –all the complex facets of their community.

Green et al. (2003) highlight that while natural disasters strike in different regions of the world, there are populations that are disproportionately affected by them.  In Lesson 1, you considered the impact of disaster on different populations on the basis of whether or not these individuals and communities had social and financial resources. Disasters are classified and described through analysis of six dimensions of disaster (Green et al., 2003, pp. 294-295).


  • Severity and Honor

The severity and horror of the injuries and deaths associated with the disaster significantly affects the impact of a disaster. You can almost certainly imagine this without difficulty. Think of the differences between, for instance, a category 1 and category 4 hurricane. The category 1 hurricane might break a few windows, or cause minor flooding; it is unlikely to cause any deaths or serious injuries. Even property damage is likely to be relatively minor and easily repaired. The number of individuals harmed by the disaster is relatively few, and the resources of the community maintain largely intact. In a category 4 or 5 hurricane, on the other hand, significant community resources will have been damaged or destroyed, including the power grid and health care services. Large numbers of people are likely to be homeless and injured, and there may be a large number of deaths. Property damage is always more manageable psychologically than deaths or injuries. The broad damage to the overall community dramatically limits available resources; homes, jobs, and lives may have been lost.

Knowledge Check


Question 1

Why are technological disasters likely to cause more anger and mental health issues?


Technological   disasters cause more harm.


Technological   disasters last longer than natural disasters.


Technological   disasters are the result of lack of human care or error.


Technological   disasters are the result of criminal acts.

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The Stages of Disaster

School tsunami evacuation drills such as this one improve community preparedness. Sirens that warn of an impending tsunami will, we hope, allow these children to move to a safe location.

The effects of disasters can also be studied in terms of the experiences occurring before, during and after the disaster. These stages may exist in both natural disasters and technological disasters.





Pre-impact stage is a warning phrase where populations can prepare, take cover, protect property, evacuate,  government bodies can train workers and implement programs to reduce the effect of the disaster. Often people feel a generalized anxiety and just before the disaster there is a heightened fear and apprehension. Some people will take action to prepare and protect themselves and others. Other people may deny or ignore the warnings. The amount of warning may vary widely. In many cases, for instance, earthquakes occur without a pre-impact stage at all, while tornadoes have only a short period of warning. These warnings typically come with only minutes available to get to safety. Hurricanes, on the other hand, may offer several days of warning in which to evacuate and prepare.

Knowledge Check


Question 1

Which of the following is an example of actions taken during the pre-impact stage?


Volunteer   boat crews responding to floods


Efforts   to build new housing


Government   and NGO humanitarian responses


Mandatory   evacuations

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Humanitarian Response

Two National Guardsmen wade through water to rescue a flood victim.

In many cases, the first people to provide support and assistance to victims of natural disasters, or many other types of trauma, are humanitarian responders. These include the staff of NGOs, other volunteers, health care workers, and even government officials. In the United States, you are likely familiar with the activities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as an immediate government response to natural disasters. In addition, in the United States, the National Guard can be called in to offer assistance.

In many cases, and understandably, the first priority of all of these workers is to meet basic physical needs. This might include providing stabilizing health care, access to food and clean water, ensuring adequate shelter, or working to reduce ongoing harm. These priorities are also present for the people afflicted by the disaster. It is impossible to worry about trauma when you lack access to a clean water supply for drinking and bathing, when you are concerned about enough food to survive, or a bed to sleep in.

Responding to Disaster

You can enter an address in the Port Charlotte, FL, city’s website and determine which evacuation zone you live in. This information has to be planned long before the hurricane comes.


  • Disaster Response from Pre-impact through Recovery

Regardless of the type of disaster, whether it is natural or man-made, disaster response is essential. In some cases, disaster response begins even prior to the disaster, in the pre-impact stage. It continues through the disaster, with attempts to limit the risk and danger to people during the event, and during the immediate post-impact stage. In addition, it is essential for the response to continue throughout the recovery phase.

Disaster response is a multi-faceted and multi-level process, involving not only individuals, but also governmental agencies and NGOs.

Knowledge Check


Question 1

In what way can structural vulnerability impact human lives and cause the loss of life?


Road   damage


Damage   to transportation


Building   collapses


The   inability to rebuild

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Children’s Psychology in the Face of Disaster

The psychological impact of disaster on children can be considered in three phases.

  • The first response,      immediately after the disaster, is likely to be fear, shock, and anxiety.      Many children may wish to be of help or assistance to feel useful during      this stage. Children may also experience grief or a sense of relief, if      the members of the family are unharmed. This phase may last as much as      several weeks.
  • The second response      begins some time after the disaster, and may, within normal parameters,      last several weeks. If children do not begin to move through or beyond      this second response, the child may require additional support or      assistance. Children may become irritable, clingy, and needy. They may      revert to behaviors common in much younger children; bedwetting, delays in      toilet learning, a desire to sleep with parents, or other behaviors are      all typical as the child attempts to feel more secure; this is      called regression. Physical      symptoms are common, often including stomach upset, headaches, sleep      disruptions, or constipation. Children may be angry, and show this anger      during interactions with family or other children. Re-enacting the      disaster in play is normal, and an appropriate processing strategy for      children. Some children may experience feelings of guilt or      responsibility. Some children may become quite withdrawn, and respond very      poorly to delays in normalizing life. In broad terms, girls are more      willing to talk about their experiences, while boys are more likely to      express anger, and may take longer to resolve the second response stage.
  • The third response is      a reconstructive phase, in which children return to normal behavior and      activities (Feldman, 2010).

The psychological impact of a disaster will be worsened significantly if there is a loss of life in the storm within the family or child’s social circle. The process of grieving typically lasts six months to one year, so an extended second response period is to be expected.

Children especially will benefit from a return to routine, honest, but simple communication, about the disaster and its effect on the family as well as the community. Children need to be able to talk about the disaster and have their feelings acknowledged rather than comforted with false reassurances.  Children will also benefit from being given simple tasks to help contribute to the recovery of the family and be involved.

The Natural Child Traumatic Stress Network website has extensive information on how parents and educators can help children recover from natural disasters: Natural Disasters

While post-traumatic stress disorder is, in modern parlance, often associated with war veterans, children can develop PTSD in the face of disaster. If physical and emotional responses to the disaster are not improving by the end of the first month following the disaster, it may be time to seek additional support (Feldman, 2010).


In this lesson, you have studied natural disasters in some depth, including their impact on communities and on children. While disaster preparation and impact is a community-wide consideration, children may experience additional struggles in the face of disaster.

The FEMA training course for Hazard Risk Management states, “The physical impacts of a disaster are usually the most obvious, easily measured, and first reported by the news media. Social impacts, which include psychosocial, demographic, economic, and political impacts, can develop over a long period of time and can be difficult to assess when they occur. Despite the difficulty in measuring these social impacts, it is nonetheless important to monitor them, and even to predict them if possible, because they can cause significant problems for the long-term functioning of specific types of households and businesses in an affected community” (Shaw et al., 2003, p. 157).

The impact of disasters on communities includes the obvious physical impacts, but also a wide range of social impacts. These social impacts include the psychological impact, and are much more challenging to address and to respond to.


Hurt, A. (2014, December 25). Using Infographics to tell the whole story about disasters. Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). Retrieved from http://disasterphilanthropy.org/blog/uncategorised/2004-tsunami-10-recovery-lessons/

Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). (n.d.). Displacements due to natural disasters spending and solutions. Retrieved from http://disasterphilanthropy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/EKU-SSEM-Displacements-Due-o-Natural-Disasters-Infographic-.png

Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. (2015, March 15). The human cost of natural disasters 2015: A global perspective. Retrieved from https://reliefweb.int/report/world/human-cost-natural-disasters-2015-global-perspective

Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (2017). Health and safety guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.ready.gov/health-safety-guidelines

Feldman, M. (2010, May 7). Psychological effects of disaster on children. Retrieved from http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/FamilyandPeerRelations/AttachmentandEmotions/Pages/PsychologicalEffectson.aspx

Gounley, T. (2016). Five years after the devastating Joplin tornado, here’s what the city looks like. Retrieved from http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2016/05/21/five-years-after-devastating-may-2011-joplin-tornado-heres-what-city-looks-like/83589110/

Green, B. L., Friedman, M. J., De Jong.J., Solomon, S. D., Keane, T. M., Fairbank, J. A., …& Frey-Wouters, E. (Eds.) (2003). Trauma Interventions in War and Peace. New York: Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Publishers.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (n.d.). Natural Disasters.  Retrieved from http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/natural-disasters

Silei, G. ( n.d.). History of technological hazards, disasters and accidents. World Environmental History. Retrieved from http://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/c09/e6-156-12-00.pdf

Shaw, G., Haddow, G., Rubin, C., & Coppola, D. (2003). Hazard risk management. Retrieved from https://training.fema.gov/emiweb/downloads/emihandout060603gregshaw1.doc

Image Citations

“A scene of destruction after a tsunami destroyed the buildings” by https://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/images/Ro_SumatraJun17.jpg .

“An area where homes were wiped away by a hurricane” by http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/hur-images/water_damage.jpg.

“Students lined up on a sidewalk” by https://www.weather.gov/tsunamiready/.

“National Guardsmen rescuing someone during a flood” by https://media.defense.gov/2016/Apr/22/2001520902/431/300/0/160422-A-YG824-002.JPG.

“A map of evacuation routes in Port Charlotte, FL, in case of a hurricane” by http://www.floridadisaster.org/PublicMapping/Evac/EVAC_CHARLOTTE.pdf

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