DISASTERS This chapter introduces the three dimensional biopsychosocial framework (Triaxial Framework) and the process, parameter and depth axes. Appendix A depicts this framework. 3.1 Psychological Disaster Effects Disasters cause major environmental, societal and personal upheavals. Most disturbances are in the nature of strains and distress and are often called stresses . Situations which give rise to stresses may be called crises or critical incidents . Stresses may be curtailed or reversed by adaptive stress responses . Stress responses may be parts of survival and preservation strategies such as fight, flight, rescue and attachment. When stress responses are insufficient or inappropriate, stresses may “give” and irreversible disruptions of various magnitudes called traumas may develop. The event in which traumas develop is a traumatic event , and the situation in which this occurs is a traumatic situation Stressors are particular agents in disasters which lead to stresses and traumas. Those which lead to traumas are called traumatic stressors . As disasters are stressors which, almost by definition, lead to trauma, disasters are often implied to be traumatic stressors.
Stresses and traumas have biological, psychological and social (actually integral biopsychosocial) ripple effects. Like ripples from a pebble in the pond, they radiate through the different dimensions of disasters.