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From catastrophe +‎ -ism, coined by English polymath William Whewell in 1837.



catastrophism (countable and uncountable, plural catastrophisms)

  1. (geology) The doctrine that sudden catastrophes, rather than continuous change, cause the main features of the Earth's crust.
    Antonym: uniformitarianism
  2. (biology) The doctrine that, in addition to the more gradual effects of evolution, huge catastrophic events shape the earth's flora and fauna by causing major die-offs which make way for the emergence of new organisms.
  3. The practice or tendency of catastrophizing, regarding bad things as catastrophic.
    • 2018, René Mauricio Barría, Cohort Studies in Health Sciences, →ISBN, page 55:
      A therapeutic programme based on pain education showed significant improvements regarding pain intensity, disability, catastrophism, depression, anxiety and health, with few positive results on anguish and cognition.
    • 2020, Carmen Ramírez-Maestre, Madelon Peters, John Andrew Sturgeon, Rocio de la Vega, Resilience Resources in Chronic Pain Patients The Path to Adaptation, Frontiers Media SA, →ISBN, page 29:
      However, we did not obtain significant relationships with pain catastrophizing. [] On the contrary, catastrophism is measured in a general context, with no motivational context, and without related situations where goals can compete.

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