Three psychological principles of resilience in natural disasters

John W. Reich (Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 1 October 2006



The purpose of this conceptual paper is to present a discussion of some of the core components of human resilience occurring in the face of natural or human‐made disasters. Resilience is often observed, but optimum responding is more than biological survival. Resilience implies the ability to bounce back and even to grow in the face of threats to survival. It is important to incorporate these key psychological principles into disaster planning.


Research from the social sciences suggests three core principles of resilience, the “3 Cs:” control, coherence, and connectedness. Research evidence supporting the importance of the three Cs to resilient responding is presented, followed by some elementary prescriptions for how they might be implemented.


An approach to disaster planning and management can meld these principles into already‐existing intervention techniques, creating a more comprehensive and a more integrated response, potentially resulting in improved intervention effectiveness.


Provides a psychological perspective on natural and human‐created disasters. Governmental and private sector responses to these tragedies have received a great deal of media attention, but there has been little systematic attention paid to the basic nature of human responding in such situations. Although it has been noted that humans are often resilient in such conditions, there has been virtually nothing written about what “resilience” is. This paper communicates the basic principles of resilience and how they would play out in future disaster planning and responding.



Reich, J. (2006), "Three psychological principles of resilience in natural disasters", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 793-798.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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