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November 24, 1962

Psychology of survival; human reactions to the catastrophes of war

JAMA. 1962;182(8):882. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050470060022

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This monograph is an extremely well written dissertation on the reactions of the human mechanism to the stresses engendered by war or other disasters. In lucid, forceful language, the author delineates his pictures of a society under stress and then proceeds to an explanation of the emotional forces at work during these troubled times. Of particular note is a section on terror in which the author describes the progress of emotional reaction from fear to terror and cites several documented reactions in a specific situation. The concluding chapters of the book are concerned with a discussion of psychological first aid and a method for increasing the capacity of the individual for psychological resistance to the emotional onslaught created by disaster.

Although this work offers little that is new to the catalogue of human reaction to disaster, it is highly recommended reading for those individuals seeking an answer to the problems