Throughout history, natural disasters have led to serious disruption in societies and affecting the lives of many. This talk will focus on the impact of natural disasters on the long-term psychological and physical health of those affected. Results from population-based studies following the 2008 Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption and fatal snow avalanches in 1995 will be discussed and future studies described.
Arna Hauksdóttir is an Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Iceland and a researcher within the area of epidemiology, stress and health. She received her PhD from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden in 2009, within the areas of epidemiology and psychology. Since then, her main theme of research has been the health effects of traumas, both personal (loss of a loved one) and collective (economic crisis, natural disasters), as follows:
• Health effects following natural disasters (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, snow avalanches). Arna is a part of a Nordic Centre of Excellence (NORDRESS) and leads a work package on individual‘s health and resilience.
• Health effects of the sudden and severe economic crisis occurring in Iceland 2008 (mental health, suicidality, birth outcomes).
• Preparedness for a loss of spouse to cancer. Building on observational studies, the aim of this project is to design and test a web-based intervention that may increase the spouse’s degree of preparedness before a loved one’s death to cancer.