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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

IACM 2019 Abstract Book »

The effect of hurricanes on psychological experience of conflicts

Though prior conflict management scholarship has conceptualized conflict as a human triggered experience, we consider the role of nature, specifically hurricanes, in fomenting both interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict. In this paper, we consider how hurricanes affect individuals’ experience of conflict and measure the psychological costs of both anticipating and experiencing a hurricane. We analyze anonymized data from a U.S.-based text-based crisis line to measure changes in topics and lengths in conversations by geographic region to assess both the direct psychological costs (e.g., the psychological costs incurred by people directly affected by the hurricane) and indirect psychological costs (e.g., the psychological costs incurred by people who do not directly experience the hurricane). We show that individuals text crisis lines for largely the same reasons during and outside hurricane timeframes. We also find that length of conversations increase during hurricane timeframes compared to outside hurricane timeframes—especially in areas near the hurricane.

Polly Kang  |
Wharton School
United States

David Daniels  |
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong

Maurice Schweitzer  |
Wharton School
United States


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