Outcomes of Belief in Just World among Victims of Natural and Man-Made Disaster: Moderating Role of Resilience

By Riaz, Muhammad N.; Sultana, Raheela et al. | Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research, Summer 2015 | Go to article overview

Outcomes of Belief in Just World among Victims of Natural and Man-Made Disaster: Moderating Role of Resilience


Riaz, Muhammad N., Sultana, Raheela, Riaz, Muhammad A., Shah, Said Z., Batool, Naila, Murad, Muhammad G., Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research


Exposure to natural and man-made disasters have severe lifelong consequences for victims (Creamer, Burgess, & McFarlane, 2001; Norris, 2003). Natural disasters like floods result in mass destruction of property and human life (Wisner, Blaikie, Cannon, & Davis, 2004). Man-made disasters like terrorism also have severe and long lasting psychological effects (Norris, Friedman, & Watson, 2002). Although, both natural and man-made disasters have severe psychological effects, but it is worth noticing that psychological after-effects of manmade disasters are more long-lasting than natural disasters (Arata, Picou, Johnson, & McNally, 2000). Foa and Steketee (1989) found that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was more persistent when victims considered other human being accountable for their losses. On average, a disaster occurs somewhere in the world each day (Norris et al., 2002). However, developing countries, in general, and Asian countries, in particular, are facing more severe after-effects of disasters. Asia is on the top of the list for disaster causalities (Quarantelli, 1998). Pakistan is a developing Asian state (International Statistical Institute, 2015) that has faced many disasters in the last decade including natural disasters like floods, land sliding, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, avalanche, droughts, cyclones, windstorms (Shah, 2013), and man-made disasters like terrorism, suicide bombing, armed conflicts, etc. (Mujeeb, 2009; Shujaat, 2010).

The psychological consequences of these disasters are even more severe than the disasters itself. Displacement due to these disasters results in drastic transitions in relations, identities, and family structures (Mertus, 2003). Some of the disasters have lifelong consequences for victims in the form of chronic and delayed PTSD, decreased levels of satisfaction with life, and impairment in overall psychological functioning (Morina & Ford, 2008). The outcomes of these disasters are mainly influenced by the beliefs, thoughts, and perceptions of the victims regarding their losses. Disasters' losses develop negative depressive schematas regarding self, world, and the future. Thus the interpretation of losses determines their psychological consequences, in general, and depression, in particular (Beck, 1972). In this regard, belief in just world helps to justify the losses resulted from disasters. Therefore, in the present study aim was to examine the effects of belief in just world on the prediction of well-being, PTSD, and depression among victims of natural disaster and man-made disaster. The moderating effect of resilience on the relationship between belief in just world and depression among victims of natural and man-made disaster was also studied.

Believing that the world is a place of justice and everything happens with a reason may help people better justify their troubles. Belief in just world facilitates in successful coping with stressors of life (Brown & Grover, 1998). A good deal of research shows that belief in just world is positively associated with well-being (Correia, Kamble, & Dalbert, 2009; Correia, Vala, & Aguiar, 2001; Dalbert, Lipkus, Sallay, & Goch, 2001; Dzuka, Jozef, & Dalbert, 2007; Riaz, 2011; Wu, Wang, Zhou, Wang, & Zhang, 2009; Xie, Liu, & Gan, 2011). People with strong belief in just world are reported to have more positive ratings of well-being on self-report measures. Along with well-being, belief in just world is positively associated with life satisfaction and inversely related to negative affect (Dzuka et al., 2007). Correia et al. (2009) and Dalbert (1999) explained that belief in just world plays a vital role in the development of the sense of wellbeing among individuals. In sum, belief in just world is a prominent and consistent determinant of well-being.

Besides enhancing well-being, belief in just world also plays a vital role in overcoming depression and PTSD. Depression and PTSD are the prominent consequences of disasters (Arata et al. …

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