Natural Disasters and Life-threatening Diseases: Psychological Consequences



The article presents the results of the theoretical and empirical study of the psychological consequences of the different types of stressors impact on humans. A frequency analysis of extreme stressful events was carried out on the sample n=529 people (from 17 to 41 years old, 233 men and 296 women). In order to study the psychological consequences of certain types of stressors – natural disasters and life-threatening diseases influence, an analysis of post-traumatic stress and psychopathological symptoms was carried out in the part of the sample (n=90 people). The k-means cluster analysis divided the sample into three groups, the first of which included mainly respondents who indicated life-threatening diseases, and the third one – natural disasters; in the second group, events were distributed evenly. Comparison of different groups data allowed us to verify the hypothesis of the study. Revealed that the psychological consequences of natural disasters and life-threatening diseases differ in the level of post-traumatic stress and psychopathological symptoms – depression, anxiety, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoia and other symptoms, which are more pronounced in people with a severe somatic disease in anamnesis. The success of coping with psychological consequences of the various stressors influence is analyzed in the context of interpreting these consequences as a collective or individual trauma.

General Information

Keywords: natural disaster, life-threatening disease, post-traumatic stress, psychopathological symptoms.

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. the study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research h according to the research project № 17-29-02155

Acknowledgements. The authors are grateful for N.N. Kazymova, who helped in developing the classification of traumatic events

For citation: Kharlamenkova N. E., Nikitina D.A. Natural Disasters and Life-threatening Diseases: Psychological Consequences [Elektronnyi resurs]. Klinicheskaia i spetsial'naia psikhologiia = Clinical Psychology and Special Education, 2020. Vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 196–212. DOI: 10.17759/cpse.2020090210. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Natalia Kharlamenkova, Doctor of Psychology, professor, Deputy Director for Scientific Work, Head of the Laboratory of Psychology of the development of the subject in normal and post-traumatic conditions, Institute of Psychology of Russian Academy of Science, Head of the Department of Personality Psychology of the Faculty of Psychology of the State Academic University of Humanities, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Daria A. Nikitina, PhD in Psychology, Junior Researcher, Laboratory of Developmental Psychology of the subject in normal and post-traumatic conditions, Institute of Psychology Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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