Behavioral Dimensions of Disaster – CJUS 383

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/09/2021

Course Description

This course focuses on the sociological, psychological, and physiological human responses to natural and human-made disasters. Students will examine normal and abnormal psychological reactions, the recovery process, and principles of mental health care for victims and responders of disasters. Differences between natural and human-made disasters are examined and factors that mitigate post-traumatic effects are reviewed. Response of the public and individuals to disaster-related issues including: disaster warning, evacuations, relations, civil unrest, loss of family and property, and recovery activities are examined. Sociological and psychological aspects of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) disasters are also considered. Students develop an awareness of the effect of human influence and behavior on disaster response and recovery.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This course cultivates an understanding of different cultures and international actions. It promotes an understanding of Western tradition and American historical aspects of emergency management. It fosters university-level competencies in writing, speaking, reading, analytical reasoning, computer literacy, and research and challenges the student to acquire knowledge independently through scientific research. It also promotes the evaluation of moral and ethical decision making. The student will develop competence in determining an approach to vocation. This course nurtures the maturing of spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical qualities through the synthesis of academic knowledge and Christian values. It cultivates sensitivity to others with commitment to better humanity and encourages commitment to Christian life while actively communicating Christian faith, personal integrity, and social responsibility, all achieved through Jesus Christ, the Lord and personal Savior.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

    1. Evaluate the impact of disasters on human behavior.
    2. Describe influences and theory related to disaster human behavior.
    3. Identify current disaster research needs.
    4. Discuss a research problem based on a review of the literature.
    5. Evaluate recommendations for future disaster research.
    6. Compare Scripture and biblical perspectives with real-world situations.


Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (8)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 250–300 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student must reply to at least 2 other students’ threads. Each reply must be 100–150 words.

All threads and replies must reflect critical thought. Relate the course content to real-world applications with biblical perspectives and cite a minimum of 2 sources per response (to include peer responses) in current APA format.

Disaster Analysis Paper Assignment

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact of a disaster on human behavior using theory and a system analysis of the factors influencing behavioral responses to disasters. At a minimum, the paper must integrate the following: at least 2 theories from the text; disaster disruption and adjustment; types of human behavior; influences on human behavior; a comparison of reactions in the United States with those in another country or countries, and a Biblical World View using the Position Paper “Biblical World View” (posted in the Module 4: Week 4 reading) as a resource for developing this section. The paper must be written in current APA format, be 750–1,050 words, and include evidence from at least 4 scholarly sources to support the evaluation and analysis.

Research Assessment Paper Assignment

The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe a current disaster research need. This paper will be the foundation for developing a potential research proposal. As such, an extensive search of the existing literature is required with scholarly and academic sources being properly cited. An evaluation of the literature will be used to develop a topic, problem statement, and conclusion.

The paper must strictly follow current APA guidelines, be 1,000–1,600 words, and include at least 5 sources.