Disaster Resilience

Disaster Resilience: Psychology and Behaviour

Here I review important psychological and behavioural responses to disaster, and highlight recommendations for building resilience in emergency response personnel, the public, communities, and business.


These articles summarise the results of a knowledge position study that aimed to define the current state of knowledge relating to psychological issues and behavioural responses to major disaster incidents, with a specific focus on CBRN disasters.

Each article identifies findings from published literature and research on the impact of incidents where chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) releases have occurred, as well as considering relevant findings and issues drawn from the wider disaster literature.

The articles focus on three main areas of concern:

First Responders

Public and Community

Business Continuity.

First responders

These articles are concerned with the literature relating to the first responders to an incident (primarily the emergency services) and discusses issues such as turnout and commitment, health and stress reactions, and communication.

Public and community

These articles provide wide coverage of issues relating to the public response, including evacuation behaviour, mass psychogenic illness, community recovery, and warning response.

Business continuity

These articles discuss business continuity issues in relation to disaster, including employee support, corporate culture, and communication issues.

Study Method

This Methods article details the process by which the literature was gathered, defines the incidents of interest and focus, lists the major incidents referred to in the report, and discusses some important caveats that apply to the articles as a whole.

Caveats regarding CBRN

Some caution needs to be used in considering the conclusions about human behaviour in the event of a CBRN incident. This Caveats article describes the major caveats relating to the study.


You can download the bibliography used in these articles in pdf and Endnote format together with other Disaster resilience resources here.
You can also download resources we created for our disaster projects, including PDF articles, bibliographies in text and EndNote formats, and survey items we have used in our research.

Download Disaster Resources