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Abstract

Disasters cause sweeping damage, hardship, and loss of life. In this article, we first consider the dominant psychological approach to disasters and its narrow focus on psychopathology (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder). We then review research on a broader approach that has identified heterogeneous, highly replicable trajectories of outcome, the most common being stable mental health or resilience. We review trajectory research for different types of disasters, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Next, we consider correlates of the resilience trajectory and note their paradoxically limited ability to predict future resilient outcomes. Research using machine learning algorithms improved prediction but has not yet illuminated the mechanism behind resilient adaptation. To that end, we propose a more direct psychological explanation for resilience based on research on the motivational and mechanistic components of regulatory flexibility. Finally, we consider how future research might leverage new computational approaches to better capture regulatory flexibility in real time.

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2024-01-18
2024-04-13
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