Abstract

¾    Motozintla is a city with high risk of disasters caused by hidrometeorologic reasons, such as hurricanes and torrential raining periods. Big loss of material and lives have been registered.  The objective of this study is to analyze the perceptions of health and disasters carried by students who live within this county of Chiapas State, Mexico. Methods: We applied 378 questionnaires that contained closed and open questions to students in the Centro de Bachillerato Tecnológico Industrial y de Servicios No. 243, (Center for Tecnological Industrial and Services Baccalaurate No.243) as well as to students of the Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas). The questions focused on health and its relation to disasters. Results: it shows that 45.5% of the consulted student population perceived health in an integral manner as a physiological, psychological and social well-being; 26.7% perceived it as the absence of disease, pain or discomfort. 26.2% mentioned diverse aspects of individual well-being related to nutrition, the feeling of well or bad or other satisfactions in life. In terms of the context of disasters, 36.8% perceived disaster as a presence of natural phenomena; 29.4% perceived it as an event that provokes destruction and death. The remaining 17.2% mentioned disaster as some kind of physical or social problem, as something sudden or as a danger. Conclusion: The majority of the students perceived health as a physical, psychological and social well-being. In their view, the disasters are related to natural phenomena and, in general terms, they underestimate the risk: health does not depend on or is related to disasters.

Keywords: Perceptions, health, disasters, students, Motozintla, Chiapas, Mexico