Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) widely occurs among victims or witness of disasters. With flashbacks, hyperarousal, and avoidance being the typical symptoms, PTSD became a focus of psychological research. The earthquake in Wenchuan, China, on May 12, 2008, was without precedent in magnitude and aftermath and caused huge damage, which drew scientists' attention to mental health of the survivors.
BACKGROUND: On May 12, 2008, an earthquake with a power of 8.0 M on the Richter scale occurred in the Wenchuan County of Sichuan Province in southwest China, which was unprecedented in magnitude and aftermath. Approximately 70,000 people were killed and nearly 20,000 went missing. The earthquake caused a wide number of mental and physical health outcomes among survivors, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was one of the most commonly studied.
Altruism is thought to be a major contributor to the development of large-scale human societies. However, much of the evidence supporting this belief comes from individuals living in pacific and often affluent environments. It is entirely unknown whether humans act altruistically when facing adversity. Adversity is arguably a common human experience (as manifested in, e.g., personal tragedies, political upheavals, and natural disasters). In the research reported here, we found that experiencing a natural disaster affected children's altruistic giving.