Solastalgia: living with the environmental damage caused by natural disasters

Warsini, Sri, Mills, Jane, and Usher, Kim (2014) Solastalgia: living with the environmental damage caused by natural disasters. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 29 (1). pp. 87-90.

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Abstract

Forced separation from one's home may trigger emotional distress. People who remain in their homes may experience emotional distress due to living in a severely damaged environment. These people experience a type of 'homesickness’ similar to nostalgia because the land around them no longer resembles the home they knew and loved. What they lack is solace or comfort from their home; they long for the home environment to be the way it was before. "Solastalgia" is a term created to describe feelings which arise in people when an environment changes so much that it negatively affects an individual's quality of life. Such changed environments may include drought-stricken areas and open-cut mines. The aim of this article is to describe how solastalgia, originally conceptualized as the result of man-made environmental change, can be similarly applied to the survivors of natural disasters. Using volcanic eruptions as a case example, the authors argue that people who experience a natural disaster are likely to suffer from solastalgia for a number of reasons, which may include the loss of housing, livestock and farmland, and the ongoing danger of living in a disaster-prone area. These losses and fears challenge people's established sense of place and identity and can lead to feelings of helplessness and depression.

Item ID: 31148
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1945-1938
Keywords: coping behavior, environmental impacts, mental health, natural disasters, solastagia
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2014 01:05
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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