Backpackers in the Nepal 2015 earthquake: The contribution of personal and social resources to mental health

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Psychologists and social workers are usually called into action after natural disasters such as earthquakes, which obviously arouse psychological distress among locals. However, the question of assisting tourists who have also been affected by the disaster has scarcely been studied. In this study, we focused specifically on backpackers who were in Nepal at the time of the 2015 earthquake, and survived. Our aim was to estimate factors that protect a backpacker's mental health after an earthquake, to deepen social workers’ knowledge regarding potential effective interventions. Based on the conservation of resources theory, we examined the contribution of optimism, emotion regulation, as well as the support of family and friends to backpackers’ mental health. A cross-sectional sample survey was conducted to collect data from 145 backpackers 1 week to 3 months after the disaster. The findings indicated that optimism, emotion regulation in the form of reassessment, and friends’ support contributed positively to backpackers’ mental health, whereas suppression of expression contributed negatively. Findings are discussed with the aim of providing recommendations for social workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-700
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2018

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© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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