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close this bookMental Health Services in Disasters: Manual for Humanitarian Workers (PAHO; 2000; 92 pages) [ES]
View the documentPreface
View the documentObjectives
View the documentIntroduction
open this folder and view contentsChapter 1: Historical Overview and Mental Health Role
close this folderChapter 2: Basic Mental Health Content
View the documentStress/Stressor Response
View the documentCoping and Adaptation
View the documentLoss and Mourning
View the documentSocial Support Systems
View the documentCrisis Response and Resolution
View the documentThe Bio-psycho-socio-cultural system*
open this folder and view contentsChapter 3: Developmental Stages of Survivor Behavior
open this folder and view contentsChapter 4: Post-disaster Intervention Programs
open this folder and view contentsChapter 5: Populations with Special Needs
View the documentMental Health Services in Disasters: Manual for Humanitarian Workers
 

The Bio-psycho-socio-cultural system*

 

* Based on Weiner H. Perturbing the organism: the biology of stressful experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1992.

KEY CONCEPTS SUPPORTING AN UNDERSTANDING OF SURVIVORS:

 

• The organism is a dynamic, evolving system of information exchange and processing - A disaster stimuli.

• It exists in an ever-changing environment where information transfer occurs within and between the brain and the environment - Internal sensory processing of disaster impact.

• The interrelationship of subsystems consists of a large variety of communication signals transmitted in a regular or irregular rhythmic manner - Disorganization of usual patterns after disaster.

• The organism is an intricate communication system of information exchanged by means of signals coming from external and internal sources and affecting the rhythm of these communication signals (neurological, hormonal, endocrine) - The total biological shifts following disaster stimuli.

• Stressful experience perturbs these rhythms and affects function, at times disorganizing them - Chance of outside patterns stresses individuals.

• Function is a unifying and dynamic concept that focuses on an integrated approach of the organism in its world. The patterns of physiology and behavior are inextricable - Coordinated by outside disorganized, unfamiliar events of disaster.

• Any perturbation of one component of the organism will lead to a change in function, which forms the basis of stress response theory. - This supports the basic biological disturbance to understand post-disaster behavior.

• Specific integrated, coordinated, and appropriate responses to each stressful experience occur. At times, depending on individual characteristics, these responses may be inappropriate, excessive, or inadequate, in which case symptoms may occur which depend on predisposition and disaster characteristics - During the sequential phases post-disaster we can observe how functions change.

READING LIST

Cohen S, McKay G. Social support, stress and the buffering hypothesis a theoretical analysis. In Baum A, Singer JE, Taylor SE (eds.). Handbook of psychology and health, Vol. 4 Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum; 1984: pp. 253-267.

Cook JD, Bickman L. Social support and psychological symptomatology following natural disaster. Journal of Traumatic Stress 1990; 3:541-556.

Hobfoll SE, Freedy JR. The availability and effective use of social support. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 1990; 9:91-103.

Horowitz MJ. Stress response syndromes. 2nd edition. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson; 1986.

Lazarus RS, Folkman S. Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer; 1984.

Lindemann E. Symptomatology and management of acute grief. American Journal of Psychiatry 1944; 101:141-148.

Solomon SE. Enhancing social support for disaster victims. In: Sowder B (ed.). Disasters and mental health: selected contemporary perspectives Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office; 1985 pp. 107-121. (DHHS Publication No. (ADM) 85-1421).

Warheit GJ A propositional paradigm for estimating the impact of disaster in mental health. In: Sowder B (ed.). Disasters and mental health: selected contemporary perspectives Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1985: pp. 196-214. (DHHS Publication No. (ADM) 85-1421).

Weiner H. Perturbing the organism: the biology of stressful experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1992.

Wilkinson CB. Aftermath of a disaster: the collapse of the Hyatt Regency Hotel skywalks. American Journal of Psychiatry 1983; 140(9): 1134-1139.

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