Dealing With Disaster

Psychology / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
An analysis of the effect of catastrophe on human coping abilities.

This essay explores the conventional consensus that the human coping capacity under the stress of catastrophic or disastrous events was determined primarily, if not solely, by the nature of the traumatic event before the twentieth century. This paper examines how this belief failed to take into consideration the fact that different individuals in many instances exhibit very differing reactive behaviors to similar situations. The author contends that this failure to recognize the factors that cause one individual to react one particular way in the face of disaster while another reacts in a widely opposing manner under similar circumstances, tends to group catastrophic reactive behavior into one generic and somewhat narrow category.

Table of contents

The Range of Reactive Behavior
Early Reactive Behavior Research
Early Findings Concerning Coping Ability & Catastrophe
Recent Research – The Full Scope of Reactions Realized
Future Research – Concepts of Control & Counter-Conditioning
Coping With the Twenty-First Century

“In the early decades of the twentieth century, Sigmund Freud introduced the world of psychology to the concept of narcissism as applied to self-esteem and individual equilibrium. Freud was intrigued by the general idea and psychological implications of narcissism, a condition that Sam Vaknin later clarified as not an actual love for one’s `true self`, but instead one’s love of a perceived reflection or image of one’s self (1999, PG). In his posited theory of narcissism, first voiced in 1914, Freud presented the idea that it is a necessity for individuals to `maintain a positive sense of self` and that this process was normally accomplished through the act of `engaging in ego-defensive behavior in order to preserve self-esteem` (Brown, 1997, p. 643). ”

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