The psychology of the Christchurch earthquakes

By Grant Jacobs 21/02/2012

For the last few days and the next few days to come local media are presenting a lot of material about last years February 22nd earthquake at Christchurch, my home town.

I have to admit I’m not watching much of the television coverage. Aside from having other things to do, I’ve seen so much of it over the last year and I’m finding myself not wanting to see more. Among other things it leaves part of you feeling as if you should have been there to help out, and some of the individual stories can be a bit full on.

Aside from media coverage, there is science coverage too.

Earlier today fellow sciblogger Fabiana Kubke passed on news of a special edition of the New Zealand Journal of Psychology ’Psychology and Disasters: A special issue with emphasis on research and practice in the months of earthquakes in Canterbury, New Zealand, from September 2010’.

The special edition is available in PDF format (10Mb file) and is jointly supported by the University of Canterbury, GNS Science, Massey University and The New Zealand Psychological Society.

Those not interested in the articles can still take in the excellent photographs scattered throughout the issue.* (You will have to flick through the pages to find them.)

I’m not a psychologist, but some of topics look worth investigating.** The article on communication of scientific advice, for example, appeals.

A few of the article titles include:

  • New Zealanders’ Judgments of Earthquake Risk Before and After the Canterbury Earthquake: Do they Relate to Preparedness?
  • The Communication of Uncertain Scientific Advice During Natural Hazard Events
  • After the Earthquakes: Immediate Post-Disaster Work with Children and Families
  • People, Places and Shifting Paradigms — when ‘South Island’ Stoicism isn’t Enough
  • Long Term Support in Schools and Early Childhood Services after February 2011
  • How Communities in Christchurch Have Been Coping with Their Earthquake


* I have to admit I’m not so keen on the photographs that have been artificially stylised. (Assuming it’s not an issue with reproducing them in the PDFs.)

** That’ll have to wait until I have more time, unfortunately, but don’t let that stop you.

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