Psychosocial resilience and its influence on managing mass emergencies and disasters

Richard Williams, John Drury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract This article argues that, while emergencies and disasters are distressing for most people and may result in mental disorders for a substantial minority of affected persons at some time in the following months and years, there are personal and collective sources of psychosocial resilience. The concepts, bases and practical potential of resilience have been explored for more than 40 years. However, studies of pathology, which emphasizes people's vulnerability over their adaptive capacities, have predominated. The nature and basis of personal psychosocial resilience are outlined and a new approach to collective resilience that has been developed through recent research on crowd psychology is described. The article concludes with some implications for managing disasters and practice, including the suggestion that crowds be treated as part of the solution rather than part of the problem in mass emergencies and disasters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293 - 296
Number of pages3
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009


  • collective resilience
  • crowds
  • disasters
  • disorders
  • distress
  • emergencies
  • personal resilience
  • psychological first aid
  • psychosocial resilience


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