The fusing power of natural disasters: An experimental study

Keren Segal, Jonathan Jong, Jamin Halberstadt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)
    321 Downloads (Pure)


    In the first experimental test of the potential of natural disasters to produce identity fusion, we asked residents of Christchurch, New Zealand, to recall their experience of the city’s devastating 2011 earthquake. Compared to a control condition, recall increased participants’ fusion with their community as a positive function of the fear they felt and, independently, of the personal harm they suffered; fusion, in turn, mediated their intentions to donate time and money to the community. An exploratory analysis also revealed stronger fusion effects among participants who attributed the event to supernatural agency. The results show that fusion is not dependent on evidence of intergroup conflict, but also raise new questions about the importance of agentic attributions and search for meaning in the fusion process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)574-586
    Number of pages13
    JournalSelf and Identity
    Early online date31 May 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Self and Identity on 31/05/2019, available online:


    • agency
    • emotion
    • harm
    • Identity fusion
    • natural disaster
    • prosocial behavior

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)


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