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Unpublished Paper
A study of resilience amongst people who lost their relatives in natural calamity: Uttarakhand in Northern India.
  • Amresh Srivastava, University of Western Ontario
  • Chetan Lokhande
  • Nilesh Mohite
  • Avinash DeSouza
  • Nilesh Shah


Natural disasters can be a devastating experience for anyone. Mental disorders are common amongst survivors of natural disasters. Resilience is a significant factor that helps these survivors overcome this traumatic episode. In this study, we attempt to examine whether the level of resilience differs with nature of loss, in this case a natural calamity.

However, it remains undetermined if the level of resilience has any relation with the nature of trauma.

Resilience is one attribute that helps an individual recovers from a disastrous event It is a dynamic process, enabling an individual to successfully adapt to severe adversities. It entails personal traits and characteristics that can aid such adaptations. It may determine the level of psychological stress in an individual because resilience is in fact a protective factor and individual with high resilience may have lesser degree of psychological stress. After experiencing an adverse life event, resilience helps a person to bounce back to normal. Resilience’s has a strong neurobiological basis and also independent psychobiological construct


We believe that people who have lost their relatives may have much lower resilience than those who have not We further believe that level of resilience among people who have faced the natural calamity will have more severe psychological stress after considerable period of time.

The disaster On June 13, 2013 in Northern India, on the foothills of Mt. Himalaya there was a landslide, which displaced 100,000 pilgrims and took 5000 lives. The disaster was due to heavy rainfall, which was about 375% more than the benchmark of a normal monsoon season. This caused the melting of Chorabari Glacier at the height of 3800 mts and eruption of the Mandakini River. The study was conducted one year after the landslide.

Methods We attempted to examine level of resilience amongst people who had lost their relatives in comparison with those who did not. This was a preliminary study to examine the role of resilience in disaster. Trained research officers in mental health from Mumbai went and stayed in the affected region and arranged for local psychiatric help prior to starting the study. Consenting subjects, who were willing to talk, participated. Clinical details, level of resilience; psychological stress, life events and effect of trauma were assessed between two groups of subjects.

Results: We found that all subjects were belonging to low socio-economic group. The level of resilience was low and closely related to psychopathology in both the group of survivors. Individuals who had lost their relatives showed relatively very poor resilience, (CD-RISK 20.61 (SD 8.33) vs. 40.57 (SD 13), p=>0.01); had high levels of stress (GHQ, 27.44 (SD 3.82) vs. 23.36 (SD 5.44), p=0.001). Need for high social support (11 (SD 30.5) vs. 2 (SD 7.1) p=0.021) did not express any significaly higher requirement for financial support. Level of resilience was negatively correlated with experience of adverse life event in previous year and number of relatives lost.

Conclusion Resilience is a personal characteristic, which is severely affected with experience of disaster. Individuals who were already vulnerable suffered the most. People who had lost relatives showed very poor level of personal strength and need for better social support. Psychological intervention needs to go beyond treatment of mental disorders alone and offer personalized therapy to rebuild their capacity and resilience

  • Trauma,
  • Disaster,
  • Resilience
Publication Date
Citation Information
Amresh Srivastava, Chetan Lokhande, Nilesh Mohite, Avinash DeSouza, et al.. "A study of resilience amongst people who lost their relatives in natural calamity: Uttarakhand in Northern India." (2014)
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