International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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Patterns of Psychological and Non-psychological Management Strategies among Drought Affected Farmers in Iran: Implications for Policy Implementation

Kiumars Zarafshani1 & Marzieh Keshavarz2

1 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, College of Agriculture, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


Drought constitutes a special class of slow-onset disasters characterized by its gradual, insidious and ambiguous nature. It is only when drought reaches particular proportions that it comes to be regarded as an exceptional event. Despite the recurrent and devastating nature of drought, it has received much less attention from disaster researchers than fast-onset disasters. Drought is now considered a normal part of the Iranian farming environment that has reputedly been a leading cause of declining production and great human suffering in Southwestern region. The present study, unlike traditional research conducted on fast-onset disasters, has taken a different direction by reporting two parallel studies that were conducted to investigate psychological and non-psychological adjustments of Fars province farmers toward a slow-onset natural disaster such as drought. Both studies used survey research design and a multi-stage cluster random sampling to interview a total of 618 drought affected farmers living in three different drought intensities. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), results indicated that Fars province farmers perceived drought as a threat to many of their resources. Consequently, they used both emotion-focused and problem-focused coping strategies to counteract the psychological outcomes of drought. In addition, farmers' non-psychological adaptive strategies were grouped as technical, non-technical, and integrated drought management strategies. Based on the findings of both studies, it is recommended that farmers use more of problem-focused coping strategies and change from crisis management to risk management in order to reduce negative consequences of drought.

Keywords: Drought, psychological, non-psychological, management strategies, natural disaster.