Reconstruction, validation, and establishment of Environmental Distress Scale due to sudden changes in the environment following hazards (Case Study: the 2003 Bam earthquake)

Document Type : Applied Article


1 Associate Professor, Psychology of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran

2 Associate Professor, architecture and urban design faculty, Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran

3 Ph. D Candidate, architecture and urban design faculty, Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran


Formation of distinctive and prominent places creates and finds meaning gradually and through repeated human interactions with the environment. In contrast, the occurrence of sudden disasters, such as earthquakes, has the potential to change the environment and damage emotional and symbolic place-based links at the individual and social levels. In order to define human-place relationships, environmental psychologists have proposed various concepts such as place identity, place attachment, and place dependence. For the first time in 2005, Albrecht introduced the concept of environmental distress (Ssolastalgia) to describe environmental distress caused by sudden changes in the environment following environmental man-made changes. Subsequently, in 2006, Higginbotham et al. Developed environmental distress scale as a quantitative tool in measuring the distress of individuals and communities during negative environmental changes. The present study attempts to reconstruct, validate and establish the environmental distress (Solestalgia) scale in Iran and after the 2003 Bam earthquake.
Materials and methods
In order to conduct research and adjust the toolpurposes, 3 three main steps including translation and modification of the questionnaire, pilot and the main study were done. In the first stage, the main questionnaire of environmental distress was translated into Persian by 2 two independent translators who were fluent in key concepts. afterAfter evaluation of translations by three experts, and contextual adaptation of the the items, it translated and evaluated again in English by another two independent translators. After the necessary corrections, the final text was approved. The content validity of the final questionnaire was evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively by five experts. After the necessary corrections regarding comprehensibility , words, classification of items based on categories and concept coverage, the content validity of the questionnaire in the second stage was evaluated 0.83. In measuring the qualitative impact score, the questionnaire was given to 25 members of the target community. In this section, the difficulty, ambiguity and understanding of tool terms were examined. According to the consensus of the participating community, three vague questions were identified, corrected and expressed in simpler language. Purposeful research sampling method was available through an online questionnaire. In the pilot phase, the questionnaire was completed by 44 native residents of Bam and the discrimination index, coefficient of concordance and acceptability constant were calculated. In the main survey, 784 questionnaires were distributed online. 295 Two hundred and ninety five participants aged 28 to 72 years answered the questionnaire. Finally, Tthe research data were analyzed by exploratory factor analysis.
Ddiscus and Results
According to the internal and discrimination index, out of 79 items of Higginbotham's environmental distress scale, 75 items with the ability to understand, accept and coordinate with each other remained in the test and 4 items were removed. These items were divided into 9 factors based on the exploratory factor analysis. theThe factors were named according to the consensus of experts. Cronbach's alpha results for each factor and the total questionnaire 0.947. aAnd 0.785 were obtained, indicating high structural validity of the scale. Based on the factor analysis findings and data rotation, 9 main factors with a factor load greater than 0.3 have been obtained, which are: first factor; place attachment (feelings about living in Bam); second factor; Solestalgia (feelings about Bam changes following the earthquake); third factor; The severity and extent of pollution and environmental issues caused by the earthquake and subsequent reconstruction operations; fourth factor; Change of features and shape of the earth after the earthquake; fifth factor; Pollution or disruption of water resources; sixth factor; Environmental issues caused by debris and post-earthquake reconstruction, seventh factor; Changing the natural landscape of the city after the earthquake, eighth factor; Evaluation and perceived impacts of reconstruction, development and its benefits and the ninth factor; The consequences of the earthquake on the survivors health.
The present article has been organized with the aim of developing Iranian versions in of the Environmental Distress Scale. The results provide a version with appropriate reliability and validity in measuring environmental distress following an earthquake in Iran, which is a confirmation of the original version of Higginbotham environmental distress scale. The findings show that in the earthquake situation, while maintaining the original foundation of the main tool, its structure appears in a different format. Due to differences in risk-related factors, environmental impacts, type and scope of destruction, culture, identity, economy and society of Bam, the identified factors have a level of differentiation. The present tool provides experts and decision makers with a more complete understanding of the emotional consequences associated with perceived sudden and negative changes in post-earthquake places. In this way, valuable information can be obtained to help individuals and communities cope with adverse environmental events after an earthquake.


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