Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Individuals' religiosity and emotional coping in response to disasters

Abstract Providing information to help individuals cope physically and psychologically with a disaster is critical in crisis communication. However, how individuals cope is relatively understudied. In particular, researchers have examined how people emotionally cope during different types of crises, but not in a natural disaster context and not religiosity. Yet, religiosity can be important during disasters, given that about 89% of adults in the United States believe in God (Pew Research Center, ). Through ten focus groups (N = 77) and a survey (N = 1,484), this study examines how residents of the Southeast United States cope in response to tornadoes. Findings indicate that participants experience anxiety and fear during a tornado, but fear and hope trigger physical action taking (e.g., sheltering in place or collecting supplies). Prayer during a tornado does not significantly predict action taking. Religiosity significantly predicts physical action taking.

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