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Wed, 20 Sep 2017

Cyclones' emotional toll

As cyclone season looms, a James Cook University researcher has found the emotional damage from a big storm can be worse than the physical effects.

PhD researcher Mitchell Scovell said people who have not experienced extreme weather usually think the biggest impact will be in the form of property damage, insurance claims and expensive repairs.

“People lucky enough not to have experienced nature at its worst tend to focus on damage to the physical environment. But many people who have suffered losses from extreme weather events report the negative emotions experienced were the worst thing,” said Mr Scovell.

He said that past research shows feelings of stress, fear or helplessness were some of the dominant emotions recalled by people who’ve experienced extreme weather.

“Basically, what differs between these two groups is their appreciation of the emotional impact of extreme weather and the inconvenience factor once you have to mop up,” he said.

Mr Scovell said these differences in thinking, based on experience, are important as they may influence how people prepare for future events.

He is conducting an online survey about people’s attitudes to cyclones.

“It’s part of a study that will help us improve risk communication messaging and help us to encourage protective behaviour in order to reduce cyclone damage – physical and emotional.”

The study involves filling out an online survey that should take about 15 minutes to complete. If you are interested in participating in the study please head to the Facebook page for more information.

Facebook: NQ Cyclone Mitigation Survey (@NQCycloneMitigationSurvey)

Contacts

Mitchell Scovell
E: Mitchell.scovell@my.jcu.edu.au
P: (07) 4781 6022
Twitter: @MitchScovell