Gender, age and social class in psychological work in disaster situations

José Manuel Salas Calvo
University of Costa Rica, Psychological Research Institute, Apartado Postal 147-2050, San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica.
Tel. : +506-207-4695, Fax: +506-207-4017

The present work outlines our reflections on psycho-social processes occurring in Costa Rica in rural communities affected by disasters. The paper lays emphasis on the different effects these disasters have according to the gender, age and social class of those affected. These effects must be understood and identified when contacting the affected communities by taking these differences into consideration when stimulating the active participation of the population in the management of disasters.

The processes studied, in men, women, boys, girls, adolescents and senile adults, show that their experiences are perceived and elaborated in different manners. If at the time of the disaster these differences are not taken into consideration, it obstructs the ways of confronting the damaging effects of the disaster during the phases of impact and reconstruction.

This paper also discusses the subject of gender and disasters, to visualise more adequately the factors playing a part within the communities having to deal with disasters.