A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Building Resilience to Mass Trauma Events


Terrorist attacks and continuing threats coupled with frequent disasters of natural and accidental origin compel the attention of professionals involved in injury and violence prevention interventions. Potential psychosocial consequences associated with terrorism and disasters include distress, changed attitudes and behavior, and psychiatric morbidity. Although psychiatric morbidity, including but not limited to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is generally confined to individuals directly affected or endangered by an incident or those with close ties to victims and survivors, less severe reactions may be pervasive and extend to people outside the immediate vicinity of an event. These reactions can be addressed on an individual basis or in small groups (such as within families, in the workplace, or in school classrooms) and through a variety of medical and psychosocial interventions before, during, and after the disaster. Another approach—one that complements attention to individual needs—is for elected, appointed, or informal leaders, in concert with a diverse mixture of community coalitions, to prevent or reduce adverse psychological, health, and social outcomes through building community resilience. This may also be a more comprehensive health protection strategy. This chapter provides a preliminary framework for examining community resilience in relation to mass trauma events.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Pfefferbaum, Betty J., Dori B. Reissman, Rose L. Pfefferbaum, Richard W. Klomp, and Robin H. Gurwitch. 2007. "Building Resilience to Mass Trauma Events." In Handbook of Injury and Violence Prevention, eds. Lynda S. Doll, Sandra E. Bonzo, David A. Sleet, and James A. Mercy. New York, NY: Springer, 347-358. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-0-387-29457-5_19