Prolonged Psychosocial Effects of Disaster: A Study of Buffalo Creek disseminates the findings of an investigation into the psychosocial effects of a specific disaster - the collapse of a slag dam that inundated the valley of Buffalo Creek in West Virginia on February 26, 1972. Based on interviews with more than 600 men, women, and children for whom psychic impairment was claimed, this volume examines the relationships between the individual disaster experiences of the survivors and their later psychological functioning.
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Comprised of nine chapters, this volume begins with an overview of the psychosocial consequences of disasters and an account of the Buffalo Creek disaster itself, along with the subsequent lawsuit against the coal company. The next chapter explains how the psychopathology and stress of the survivors were scaled and gives some information regarding the reliability and validity of the data. Symptoms, sleep problems, family disruption, and traumatic dreams are considered. The findings on these data and the follow-up studies are discussed. The final chapter contains a summary of the findings and proposes specific suggestions as well as a model for future disaster studies.
This book will be of most practical importance to mental health scientists and clinicians working with the victims of stress and disaster, and should also be of considerable interest to social and behavioral scientists and, more generally, to administrators of government activities.