Family system adjustment and adaptive reconstruction of social reality among the 1995 earthquake survivors[1]


Shigeo Tatsuki[2] and Haruo Hayashi[3]


Paper presented at the 25th Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop on July 10, 2000 in Boulder Colorado



The 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake resulted in immense imbalances among and within natural ecosystems, the built environment, and human systems.  The current study examined the relationship among familial adjustment, adaptive construction of social reality, and recovery of built environment.  A random sample mail survey was conducted on 3,300 earthquake victims and 993 questionnaires were returned. The survey questionnaire included the following four scales that measured the family system adjustment on family cohesion and adaptability, the adaptive construction of new reality as evidenced by citizenship orientations, the current level of physical and psychological stress, and a subjective evaluation of life recovery.  The results were as follows: (1) Those families that exhibited high cohesion and a clear leadership structure in the emergency period were more functional than others.  (2) Those families that reported a balanced level of cohesion and adaptability during the recovery period were the most functional in promoting present individual recovery and in alleviating current stress.  (3) The rise of civic-mindedness was observed among those who survived the disaster.  (4) Those with high civic-mindedness tend to be better recovered with less current physical and psychological stress.  This paper presented a human ecological model that described the relationships among five components: (1) the earthquake hazard, (2) built environment conditions such as disruption of the lifeline and its recovery, (3) opportunity costs for engaging in exchanges with either basic-trust-based ties or social-trust-based ties, (4) the optimal family system adjustment to corresponding exchange relations, and (5) adaptive construction of new social reality.

(Dr. Gilbert White on right at the 25th Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, July 12, 2000)

[1] The study in this paper is a part of Japan-U.S. cooperative research in urban earthquake disaster mitigation sponsored by Monbusho and the National Science Foundation.  The Hyogo Earthquake Disaster Memorial Association also jointly supported the study.  This paper was originally entitled gDeterminants of the changes of residence and life reconstruction among the 1995 Kobe earthquake victimsh and was first presented at the 24th Natural Hazard Workshop, Boulder, Colorado, July 12, 1999.

[2] School of Sociology, Kwansei Gakuin University, 1 Uegahara, Nishinomiya, Japan.

[3] Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Uji, Kyoto, Japan