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Slow-Motion Technological Disaster, Responses to

  • By: Rebecca J. W. Cline
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Common elements of definitions of disaster include ecological and psychological disruption, community-level effects, and the overwhelming of resources for coping. Although the traditional disaster literature focused on rapidly occurring natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis), contemporary scholarship recognizes that not all disasters are natural (i.e., acts of God) with immediate and predictable consequences. When the very nature of disasters differ, individual, family, and community responses differ. As a result, different types of institutional responses are needed in order to meet victims' needs. The term slow-motion technological disaster (SMTD) refers to slowly evolving disasters of lengthy indeterminate duration that invoke human culpability. Relatively little is known about responses to SMTDs, although victims' psychological effects are relatively worse than for natural disasters, and the incidence of ...

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