Giving and Receiving Aid

March 1983 (VOL. 1, NO. 1)

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Most research devoted to the problem of giving aid in disaster has focused on the post impact period. In such situations there is usually altruism, but people tend to help family members, other relatives, and friends before strangers. This research focuses on the impact period rather than the post impact period. Data were collected with a mailed questionnaire, after the blizzard of January 1978 in the midwest of the U.S.A. during which people were immobilized for as much as five days. Several measures of giving and receiving help were obtained. The question considered here is do the findings on helping patterns toward victims in a post impact period apply also to a situation of prolonged impact. Respondents gave and received more help from relatives and friends than from strangers. However, friends rather than relatives both gave and received more help. The usual patterns of the importance of the primary group; family, relatives and friends seem to have prevailed. One of the main problems during blizzard impact may be the difficulties of persons who are physically or socially isolated.