There is substantial research on psychological consequences of disasters. However, most disaster studies to date have focused on acute disasters, ignoring slow-onset chronic hazards, such as extreme climate conditions and pollution. Using a multilevel theoretical framework based on the Conservation of Resources theory (S. E. Hobfoll, The Ecology of Stress, Hemisphere, New York, 1988; Stress, Culture, and Community: The Psychology and Philosophy of Stress, Plenum, New York, 1998) and the "ecological analogy" (see e.g., S. E. Hobfoll and R. S Lilly, Journal of Community Psychology, 21:128-148, 1993; E. J. Trickett, Extreme Stress and Communities: Impact and Intervention, Kluwer, Boston, 1995), this critical review of the current literature is aimed at increasing our understanding of personal and community impacts of drought as a classic example of a natural, slow-onset disaster affecting large numbers of people worldwide. A gap in the current literature was identified concerning appraisal and coping at the individual level. These include psychological coping strategies and the role of resources other than economic resources in explaining vulnerability to negative consequences of drought, such as personal resources (e.g., knowledge, skills, self-sufficiency, mastery, control) and social resources (e.g., social support). Important differences were identified with fast-onset disasters. Most importantly, dealing with drought is generally an integrated part of life for people in drought prone areas. Therefore, individuals may not recognize that their problems are part of a community wide stressor, and raising community awareness during severe and long droughts that deplete community resources needs special attention. Implications for studying drought and effective intervention strategies are given.

Community, Coping, Drought, Resources, Slow-onset disasters,
Human Ecology (New York): an interdisciplinary journal
Department of Psychology

Zamani, Gh.H, Gorgievski-Duijvesteijn, M.J, & Zarafshani, K. (2006). Coping with drought: Towards a multilevel understanding based on conservation of resources theory. Human Ecology (New York): an interdisciplinary journal, 34(5), 677–692. doi:10.1007/s10745-006-9034-0