The ability of individuals to manage and rebuild their lives after a disaster depends on environmental factors, as well as their own psychological characteristics. A psychometric questionnaire to measure personality traits relevant to disaster survival was proposed based on a large-scale investigation of survivors of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake (Sugiura et al. 2015). This tool, the Power to Live with Disasters questionnaire, measures eight personality characteristics that are beneficial for coping with disasters. However, this instrument has not been optimised for practical use; it is long and lacks benchmark scores for the general population. Thus, we developed a concise, 16-item version of the Power to Live with Disasters questionnaire through reanalysis of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake survivor data and an additional Web-based survey to obtain normative data from 1200 respondents drawn from the general population of Japan. The scores obtained from the short-form version of the questionnaire successfully replicated the results of the long-form version; eight distinct personality characteristics correlated well with several items associated with “successful survival” of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The normative data of the full- and short-version questionnaires were also highly correlated. We propose use of the shortened questionnaire to determine the personality traits critical for survival in the face of unexpected, life-threatening situations caused by natural disasters. Our questionnaire could be useful in schools and other public settings to enhance disaster-mitigation efforts and resilience to disasters in the general population.
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