Long term psychosocial consequences for disaster affected persons belonging to ethnic minorities

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)

Abstract

Experiencing a disaster can profoundly affect one's psychological well-being. The impact can last even longer when there are ongoing adversities, such as severe physical health issues, property damage, forced relocation or financial loss. In recent years, an increasing number of studies have been published indicating several psychosocial consequences of disasters. Only some of these studies specifically address the effects on non-Western populations. This thesis complements the growing body of literature on ethnic minorities. It describes the psychosocial consequences for ethnic minorities affected by the Enschede Fireworks Disaster in The Netherlands in 2000. The central question of this thesis is: what is the impact of a disaster on ethnic minorities? Is the mental health impact of a disaster greater for affected ethnic minorities than for affected Dutch natives? What is the relationship between acculturation into the Dutch community and the social support systems that address mental health problems after a disaster? And concerning•after-care, do General Practitioners recognise mental health problems that arise from the disaster? To answer these questions, we examined comparative data from the Enschede Fireworks Disaster Study, looking at affected ethnic minorities, affected Dutch natives and non-affected ethnic minority and Dutch natives. Furthermore, I we conducted in-depth interviews with Dutch Turkish people affected by the fireworks disaster. Finally, we used a GP-monitor, a record of all problems, diagnoses and interventions used to address the impact of the disaster. The overall conclusion is that the impact of a disaster tends to be greater for affected ethnic minorities than for affected Dutch natives. The reason for this discrepancy can be found in the fact that ethnic minority populations tend to live in a more vulnerable situation before a disaster, and that probably increases the negative psychosocial impact after the disaster.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Kleber, Rolf, Primary supervisor
  • Gersons, B.P.R., Supervisor, External person
  • van der Velden, P.G., Supervisor
Award date23 Nov 2012
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2012

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