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Disaster stress: an emergency management perspective

Douglas Paton (Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.)
Rhona Flin (Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland.)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 1 October 1999

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Abstract

This paper examines the sources of stress likely to be encountered by emergency managers when responding to a disaster. Stressors relating to environmental (e.g. time pressure, level of risk, heat), organisational (e.g. bureaucracy, appropriateness of information, decision support and management systems) and operational (e.g. incident command, decision making, interagency liaison, team and media management) demands are considered. The mediating role of personality and transient states of physical (e.g. fitness and fatigue) and psychological (e.g. high levels of occupational stress) states are reviewed in terms of their influence on stress, judgement and decision making. Strategies for identifying which of these potential stress factors can be controlled or reduced and for training emergency managers to deal with the others are discussed.

Keywords

Citation

Paton, D. and Flin, R. (1999), "Disaster stress: an emergency management perspective", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 261-267. https://doi.org/10.1108/09653569910283897

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited

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