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Meaning and disaster mental health

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Pinar Dursun
added a research item
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a widespread psychiatric disorder. According to the transdiagnostic approach, death anxiety can underpin predominantly somatic manifestations of GAD. Personal resilience factors such as a sense of a meaningful life, and psychological hardiness, which can protect people from developing clinical symptoms, may be lower in individuals with GAD. So far, there has been no study examining the role of meaning in life dimensions, death anxiety, and hardiness in individuals with GAD in Turkey. Thus, we aimed to investigate to what extent the GAD sample differs from the non-anxious control group in terms of death anxiety, meaning in life dimensions, and hardiness. Secondly, we examined how conceptually predicted death anxiety by meaning in life dimensions and hardiness regardless of diagnosis, age, and gender. Just before the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, we could only recruit 38 individuals with GAD and 31 non-anxious control subjects. The Death Anxiety Scale, The Meaning in Life Questionnaire, and the Psychological Hardiness Scale were administered to all the participants. The one-way MANOVA results with Bonferroni adjustment revealed that individuals with GAD significantly differed from the control group in every way. Hierarchical regression analysis displayed that the presence of meaning made the most significant contribution in predicting death anxiety. In conclusion, existential issues such as death anxiety, hardiness, and meaningful life can be emphasized for the treatment of GAD, and the presence of meaning is the most crucial antidote to avoid death anxiety in all individuals.
Pinar Dursun
added a research item
For the last 30 years, the conceptualization studies of posttraumatic growth (PTG) which refer to the positive changes as a result of the struggle with adverse events, have been continuously evolving with new findings. In line with this empirical evidence, Tedeschi and colleagues have proposed a revised model in which PTG is accepted both as a process and an outcome. The roles of the concepts such as wisdom, resilience, socio-cultural factors are explained better. As the ultimate aim of the model, the authors suggest reaching the dimensions of PTG not hedonistic happiness or well-being. This new model include, gaining the wisdom that comes with the existing stress, possessing the newly achieved problem-solving repertoire, and also re-structuring new-life narratives, meaning of life and flexible schemas. Furthermore, the latest research has provided us the evidence that, in the process of PTG, paradoxically both positive (PTG) and negative changes (Posttraumatic Depreciaton) are experienced together. But even though the difference is small, positive changes are consistently found to be greater. The aim of this paper is to describe the revised model with the latest empirical findings and provide a literature review with implications for clinical practice.
Stefan E Schulenberg
added 7 research items
The objective of this study was to examine previous disaster impact, threat perception, self-efficacy, and gender as predictors of university employees’ preparedness for natural hazards and incidents of mass violence. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with faculty and staff members (N = 410) at a medium-sized university located in the southern United States. Drawing from the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM), a moderated mediation model was hypothesized and partially supported. For natural hazards, past experience and gender had direct effects on perceived susceptibility, but perceived susceptibility did not mediate the effect of past disaster experience on preparedness behavior, nor did past disaster experience have a significant direct effect. However, both self-efficacy and disaster impact had direct effects on preparedness behavior, and self-efficacy further moderated the effect of disaster impact. For incidents of mass violence, perceived susceptibility significantly mediated the effect of past experience on preparedness behavior, when self-efficacy was high and employees were female. As with natural hazards, past experience and gender had significant direct effects on perceived susceptibility. Self-efficacy also had a significant direct effect on preparedness behavior. These results support EPPM theory in that threat messages and perceptions correspond to increased preparedness behavior when paired with self-efficacy for responding to disasters. Therefore, it is recommended that educational institutions employ disaster preparedness programs that focus on educating employees about cultivating accurate threat perceptions and building their confidence in responding to disasters.
Objective: There is growing interest in the effectiveness of disaster preparedness at universities. Although several studies have examined student preparedness perceptions, a better understanding of factors that may influence actual preparedness is needed. Participants: Seven hundred sixty-five undergraduate and graduate students at a southeastern U.S. university completed an online survey in September 2013. Methods: Participants were administered an online survey that included questions regarding disaster preparedness and their experiences with disasters. Results: Students' Disaster Concern was more related to Perceived Preparedness over Actual Preparedness; Disaster Experience significantly predicted both Actual and Perceived Preparedness. Perceived University Preparedness was a significant predictor of Disaster Concern. Conclusion: The results suggest that Perceived and Actual Preparedness are related but not entirely equivalent, which emphasizes the importance of differentiating the two constructs. Limitations of the current study and recommendations for future research are provided.
Objectives: This study's purpose was to assess perceived meaning in adolescents. Specifically, our goals were to examine the psychometric properties of the Purpose in Life test-Short Form (PIL-SF) and its ability to predict psychological outcomes in an adolescent sample. Method: Aspects of well-being (self-efficacy, life satisfaction, and resilience) and psychological distress (posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and general stress) were assessed in a sample of adolescents (N = 91; 58.2% female; mean age = 14.89) receiving clinical services following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Results: Meaning was positively associated with life satisfaction, self-efficacy, and resilience, and negatively associated with posttraumatic stress and depression. Meaning was not significantly related to anxiety or general stress. Females reported significantly more meaning than males, while no significant differences were noted by race/ethnicity. Conclusions: The PIL-SF is a useful measure with adolescents. Moreover, meaning is an important concept to consider with respect to disasters.
Stefan E Schulenberg
added 10 research items
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded, releasing five billion barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over five months (referred to as the Gulf Oil Spill). This oil spill affected Gulf Coast communities, harming both sea and land wildlife, damaging the fishing industry, and destroying natural resources. In the wake of such a disaster, many people experience decreases in their quality of life. However, coping mechanisms such as developing meaning or purpose in life and creating a sense of self-efficacy can allow people to recover. The present study evaluates the effect of the Gulf Oil Spill on 361 individuals seeking clinical services on the Mississippi Gulf Coast following the spill. Regression analyses revealed that the perceived effects of the spill were only weakly related to life satisfaction. Perceived meaning in life and self-efficacy were much more predictive of satisfaction with life, with perceived meaning in life serving as the most important predictor. These data provide initial support for models that emphasize the role of coping mechanisms in the wake of ecological disasters. Future research should evaluate the effects of such mechanisms using longitudinal and other designs that allow for stronger causal inferences. Clinical implications include the use of therapies that foster a sense of perceived meaning in life (e.g., logotherapy) and self-efficacy (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy), as well as con-sideration of the specific ecological nature of disasters such as the Gulf Oil Spill.
The current study examined the impact of the Gulf Oil Spill and Hurricane Katrina, environmental attitudes, and environmental action among residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The authors sought to determine if disaster impact, worry about the environment, or connection to nature was associated with environmental action following the oil spill and in general. We hypothesized that disaster impact and environmental attitudes would be significantly associated with environmental action. Surveys were administered to 1,108 individuals receiving mental health services in connection with the Gulf Oil Spill. Results indicated that disaster impact was correlated with environmental worry, connection to nature, and action. Additionally, environmental worry and connection to nature were significantly associated with action, as were the effects of Hurricane Katrina to a lesser degree. This study supplements the existing literature by examining environmental attitudes, disaster impact, and their association with environmental action following two disasters.
A significant percentage of disaster survivors experience negative psychological, physical, and social outcomes after a disaster. The current study advances the literature concerning the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (the Gulf Oil Spill) while addressing weaknesses of previous research. The current study includes a clinical sample of 1,119 adults receiving mental health services in the coastal counties of Mississippi after the Gulf Oil Spill. The levels of clinical symptoms reported on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21) and PTSD Checklist (PCL-S) were examined in relation to other domains of functioning potentially affected by the spill (finances, social relationships, and physical health). Participants reported substantial worsening of their functioning across each life domain. Furthermore, chronic problems in living related to the Gulf Oil Spill were significantly associated with higher levels of psychological distress, although the pattern differed somewhat for persons living above and below the poverty line, with lower income individuals reporting a higher level of overall distress. These data support the perspective that the experience of the Gulf Oil Spill is strongly associated with a deleterious effect on mental health symptoms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).