Psychological Reactions and Experiences Among Swedish Citizens Resident in Kobe During the 1995 Earthquake

August 1999 (VOL. 17, NO. 2)

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This paper discusses reactions and experiences of temporary residents and transients in a community struck by a major natural disaster. A retrospective questionnaire study was conducted among a group of Swedish citizens who were residents in Kobe during the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. Respondents describe aspects of their behavior before, during, and after the earthquake. The findings indicate that, as a group, the Swedes appear to have coped well, even though they were not well-prepared for this type of situation. One factor found to be related to the behavioral responses was ability to speak the local language, in this case Japanese. On the basis of the study results, some particular needs and resources of foreign residents are discussed.