World Assumptions Following Disaster1


  • 1

    This research was supported by the Dr. Alexander Meijer Prize.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Zahava Solomon, Bob Shapell School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


This study assessed the beliefs and cognitions of bus-train collision survivors, 7 years following the accident. The sample consisted of 389 young adults who were adolescents at the time of the disaster. The sample was composed of 4 groups who differed in their levels of exposure to traumatic stress. Results indicated that (a) exposure to the traumatic accident was implicated in challenging survivors' beliefs about the benevolence of the world. Justice and luck were also associated with posttraumatic psychiatric and functional impairment; (b) the level of exposure had a direct bearing on dependent variables; and (c) cognitive schemata were associated with psychiatric symptomatology and problems in functioning, reflecting the coexistence of diverse traumatic sequelae. Theoretical implications of these results are discussed.