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Behavioral Consequences of Disasters: A Five-Stage Model of Population Behavior

  • Sasha Rudenstine (a1) and Sandro Galea (a1)



We propose a model of population behavior in the aftermath of disasters.


We conducted a qualitative analysis of an empirical dataset of 339 disasters throughout the world spanning from 1950 to 2005.


We developed a model of population behavior that is based on 2 fundamental assumptions: (i) behavior is predictable and (ii) population behavior will progress sequentially through 5 stages from the moment the hazard begins until is complete.


Understanding the progression of population behavior during a disaster can improve the efficiency and appropriateness of institutional efforts aimed at population preservation after large-scale traumatic events. Additionally, the opportunity for population-level intervention in the aftermath of such events will improve population health. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:497-504)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Sasha Rudenstine, PhD, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, 722 West 168th Street, RM 1505, New York, NY 10031 (e-mail:


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