Psychological Typhoon Eye in the 2008 Wenchuan EarthquakeReport as inadecuate




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Background

On May 12, 2008, an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan, China, leading to 69,227 deaths and 374,643 injured, with 17,923 listed as missing as of Sept. 25, 2008, and shook the whole nation. We assessed the devastating effects on people-s post-earthquake concern about safety and health.

Methodology-Principal Findings

From June 4 to July 15, 2008, we surveyed a convenience sample of 2,262 adults on their post-earthquake concern about safety and health. Residents in non-devastated areas Fujian and Hunan Provinces, and Beijing and devastated areas Sichuan and Gansu Provinces responded to a questionnaire of 5 questions regarding safety measures, epidemic disease, medical workers, psychological workers, and medication. The ANOVAs showed a significant effect of residential devastation level on the estimated number of safety measures needed, the estimated probability of the outbreak of an epidemic, and the estimated number of medical and psychological workers needed Ps<0.001. The post-earthquake concern decreased significantly as the level of residential devastation increased. Because of the similarity with the meteorological phenomenon of the eye of a typhoon, we dubbed these findings a -Psychological Typhoon Eye-: the closer to the center of the devastated areas, the less the concern about safety and health a resident felt.

Conclusions-Significance

Contrary to common perception and ripple effect that the impact of an unfortunate event decays gradually as ripples spread outward from a center, a -Psychological Typhoon Eye- effect was observed where the post-earthquake concern was at its lowest level in the extremely devastated areas. The resultant findings may have implications for Chinese governmental strategies for putting -psychological comfort- into effect.



Author: Shu Li, Li-Lin Rao, Xiao-Peng Ren , Xin-Wen Bai , Rui Zheng , Jin-Zhen Li, Zuo-Jun Wang, Huan Liu

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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