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Bull Menninger Clin. 1989 Jul;53(4):331-9.

Reactions to disaster at a distance. The first week after the earthquake in Soviet Armenia.


Armenian-American adolescents from a Los Angeles school were interviewed during the first week after the massive earthquake in Soviet Armenia in December 1988. The authors describe their observations: All the adolescents strongly identified with the victims and felt that the catastrophe personally affected them; they all rushed into hectic activities to escape intolerable grief reactions; there was strong group pressure to accelerate helping efforts; the catastrophe was experienced as fortifying group cohesion; and there was a distinct preference to preserve and strengthen communal values, even over and above helping the earthquake victims. In particular, the authors observed the phenomenon of "participation envy," a special form of survivor guilt involving envious resentment at being excluded from a unique and rallying communal experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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