Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 15 Issue 5 (September/October 2005), Pages 319-423

Post‐traumatic factors and resilience: the role of shelter management and survivours' attitudes after the earthquakes in El Salvador (2001) (pages 368-382)


A participatory research action was undertaken in the two largest shelters established after the earthquakes in El Salvador (2001). One hundred fifteen semi‐structured interviews were carried out among refugees, which later formed the basis for a self‐managed community plan. Comparisons between the two shelters—which differed primarily in whether the grouping of tents was made to reflect the community of origin of the survivors (shelter Santa Gertrudis) or not (shelter El Cafetalón)—showed that refugees in Santa Gertrudis participated more often in community activities, and had more positive emotional memories, fewer feelings of having been humiliated and less emotional discomfort than refugees in El Cafetalón. The results suggest that forms of organisation and management which consider elements of dignity, participation and respect for the capacity of the victims to control their own lives are relevant factors for effective individual and community coping after a catastrophe. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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