Acute postdisaster coping and adjustment

Carol S North, Elizabeth M. Smith, Robert E. McCool, Patrick E. Lightcap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


This study examines coping strategies and short-term adjustment in survivors of a tornado. Forty-two subjects were interviewed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule/Disaster Supplement (DIS/DS) within 1 month of the event. Rates of psychiatric disorder in survivors were low, and even rates of symptoms were not especially high. Subjects turned to family and friends for support as their most frequent coping method. While many utilized active coping techniques such as talking and reading about it, others dealt with their experience by avoidance, trying not to think about the tornado. Many also reported that religious and philosophical perspectives helped them. Few required medication to relieve their upset, and none depended on alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-360
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1989


  • coping
  • disaster
  • stress
  • victims

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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