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Factors related to psychological resilience among survivors of the earthquakes in Van, Turkey

İkizer, Gözde
Exposure to natural disasters is common, with millions of people affected annually. Traumatic events including disasters may result in a wide range of psychological consequences in adults. They may evoke negative outcomes in exposed individuals including posttraumatic stress (PTS) reactions. However, in recent years, the field of trauma studies has fuelled interest in positive changes following adversity including growth and resilience. The present study aimed to investigate psychological resilience in the survivors of the two destructive earthquakes in Van, Turkey in 2011 causing more than 600 casualties. This study utilized mixed-methods research design in which the qualitative and quantitative strands were conducted sequentially to explore psychological resilience in a deeper and broader sense. In the qualitative study, 51 earthquake survivors in Van were interviewed in order to explore perceptions of psychological resilience. Analyses revealed that belief in God/religiousness, economic resources, social networks/relationships, health, and positive personality characteristics were the most pronounced factors that were perceived by survivors as associated with resilience. The quantitative study aimed to identify factors associated with psychological resilience as defined by low levels of PTS and high levels of resilience as measured by stress-coping ability in a sample of 360 survivors. The findings showed that psychological resilience was influenced by a multitude of pre-, within-, and post-disaster factors. Overall, the study showed that psychological resilience is a multifactorial construct. The results were discussed in line with previous literature, and information was provided on implications of the findings for clinical practice and applied field, and future studies.