Physical and psychological adjustment to stress and trauma; prosocial motivation (volunteering and altruism); meaning
In his past and ongoing work, Dr. Poulin has examined how individuals respond to stressful or traumatic events. For collective traumas such as natural disasters or terror attacks, this process is closely tied to individuals’ interactions with their social context. For example, his recent research, in the form of a large, 3-year national survey, indicates that low-level but persistent symptoms of posttraumatic stress following 9/11 predict support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and more aggressive domestic policies (curtailment of civil liberties, use of torture). This work suggests one way in which societal responses to extreme events are shaped by individual responses to these events.