Eight Personal Characteristics Associated with the Power to Live with Disasters as Indicated by Survivors of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster

People perceive, judge, and behave differently in disasters and in a wide range of other difficult situations depending on their personal characteristics. The power to live, as captured by characteristics that are advantageous for survival in such situations, has thus far been modeled in arbitrary ways. Conceptualizing such characteristics in more objective ways may be helpful for systematic preparations for future disasters and life difficulties. Here, we attempted to identify the major factors of the power to live by summarizing the opinions of survivors of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake disaster.

Safety and accidents in complex systems

Crashes always occur in complex systems.

Improving safety on a small scale increases complexity in the system which increases the chances of big accidents.

Small inputs can lead to very large outputs.

Tightly coupled systems produce unexpected results.

People with an internal locus of control turn accidents into opportunities.