A Review of Psychological Resilience as a Response to Natural Hazards in Nigeria

A Review of Psychological Resilience as a Response to Natural Hazards in Nigeria

Bolajoko Ibiyemi Malomo (University of Lagos, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3194-4.ch008


Natural hazards are potential threats to lives, properties, and the society at large. This chapter discusses psychological resilience as a strategy in overcoming the aftermath of natural hazards, which are known as natural disasters in Nigeria. Resilience consists of individual behaviours, cognitions, actions, and attitudes that enhance personal wellbeing. The ability to exhibit resilience is important in overcoming the adverse consequences of natural hazards. A review of the concept of resilience in this chapter covers an introduction to the concept of resilience and natural hazards, cases of natural hazards in Africa and Nigeria, conceptual definition and issues relating to resilience, theoretical underpinning, recommendation, and conclusion. The various factors that are critical to the development and utilisation of psychological resilience are discussed. Relevant authorities can thus be advised on the need to set up platforms on which communities can devise methods of educating individuals on methods of developing resilience in preparation for impending natural hazards.
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Hazards generally are situations or events that evoke feelings of fear, loss, pain and dejection. The occurrences associated with hazards are as old as history, but the prevalence of hazards is increasingly being experienced globally and in all spheres of life (Pryor 2012). A hazard is a threatening phenomenon that has the potential to bring about loss of lives, injuries, property damages, socio-economic disruption of life or environmental degradation (IB geography subject guide, 2011). Hazards can be described as the negative consequences of events attributable to natural or human forces. For instance, events associated with an earthquake, a meteor, and any other weather related event, could be causes of natural hazard. On the other hand, when factors associated with human activities are the major causes, then human forces are responsible.

Natural hazards are phenomenal events that occur naturally in the physical environment through a series of slow or forceful events. These events could be geophysical (earthquakes, tsunamis volcanic eruptions); hydrological (avalanches and floods); climatological (high temperatures, droughts and wildfires) or meteorological (cyclones, ocean surges). One of the characteristics of natural hazards is that hazards have stored energies that may get dissipated and released with a high intensity. In that state, it causes grave damage to anything along its way. These types of hazards can lead to negative consequences for the people or the environment affected.

Nigeria’s typology and ecological terrain may seem to have been speared some of the world’s natural hazards compared to what obtains in other parts of the world. Amongst the different types of natural hazards, the most prevalent and experienced by Nigerians is the hydrological hazards (flood), followed by meteorological (ocean surges), while geophysical (earth tremor)is experienced at a mild but worrisome level in some parts of the country. Flooding, a major hazard in Nigeria has claimed lives and properties in a magnitude that requiresurgent attention by stakeholders.

The history of flooding in Nigeria dates back to the 1900s. Flooding manifests when water flows across a land that is usually considered dry land. Floods also occur when a low land is situated adjacent to a body of water (Sada, 1988). This is because after a heavy rain fall, the likelihood of water from a stream or river overflowing its bank onto a low land is high. Notable flooding incidences in Nigeria (Ibadan, 1990; Akure, 2002, 2006; Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Adamawa, 2012; Niger Delta, 2012) have become a common phenomenon in the country. Flooding has recently been experienced across all regions of Nigeria and the aftermath has been catastrophic. This situation has prompted academic discuss and writings by experts (Aderogba, 2012a; Agbonkhese et al. 2014) from various fields in the physical and behavioural sciences. Usually, the area of discuss has been focused on the types of floods, typology of the areas affected, the relation of flood to sustainability and development (Adeogba, 2012), the history and effects of flooding (Tawari-Fufeyin, Megbuwe & Adams (2015); Agbonkhese et al. 2014; Okorodudu-Fubura, 2013). None has so far discussed the 30 issue of resilience and how victims can utilise it to overcome the losses associated with flooding.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Natural Forces: Events that occur in the environment due to nature and one that is not under the control of human beings.

Emotional Trauma: A strong, negative, and painful feeling caused by stress and losses.

Hazards: Negative consequences of weather conditions.

Natural Hazards: Events that are potentially dangerous and are caused by natural forces in the physical environment.

Flood: A situation where excess water from the sea, river, or stream flows to areas that are usually dry land.

Psychological Resilience: Behaviours that a person exhibits to achieve normalcy after a stressful experience.

Nigeria: The name of a country situated in West Africa.

Wellbeing: A state of happiness and positive health.

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