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Contents & Abstracts
Volume 1999-1

The Australasian Journal of Disaster
and Trauma Studies
ISSN:  1174-4707
Volume : 1999-1

Editorial : Special Edition: Children, trauma and disasters.
by Dr Kevin R Ronan

Special Edition Papers

Prediction of Children's Coping Following a Natural Disaster - the Mount Ruapehu Eruptions: A prospective study
by Caryl A Huzziff & Kevin R Ronan

Keywords: Children, Natural Disasters, Coping, Home Factors, Negative Cognitive and Emotional Style, PTSD

The present study used a conceptual model to examined predictors of coping ability in 187 elementary school-aged children after the Mount Ruapehu eruption. The model included the examination of several factors: exposure, demographics, home factors, negative cognitive and emotional style (depression, affect, state & trait anxiety), PTSD symptoms and coping. Five primary factors assessed one-month post-disaster (exposure, child demographics, home factors, negative cognitive and emotional style, and PTSD symptomatology) accounted for 44% of the variance in children's initial level of coping ability. Three months post-disaster, 47% of the variance in children's coping was accounted for by these five primary factors plus one additional factor, initial level of coping ability. Additionally, home-based factors accounted for 11% of the total variance initially and 10% prospectively. The findings are discussed in the context of how to organize intervention in the wake of natural disasters.

Link to full paper

Children's Conceptualisation of some child sexual abuse prevention concepts as taught by 'Keeping Ourselves Safe', a New Zealand Prevention Programme
by C C M Woolley & T C M Gabriels

Keywords: sexual abuse prevention, children, developmental

This paper will present selected findings of a study which combined quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate how children conceptualized sexual abuse prevention concepts as taught by the Keeping Ourselves Safe Programme (KOS), a New Zealand preventative programme. Participants were 96 primary school children, aged between five and eleven, who had recently completed the KOS programme. Twelve students were selected to take part in a follow-up interview. A modified version of the Child Knowledge of Abuse Questionnaire - Revised (Tutty, 1994) was used to evaluate knowledge levels of key prevention concepts. A qualitative analysis of children's own stories and explanations provided insights into the way they constructed meaning from the concepts presented to them during participation in the KOS programme. Results support previous findings that children's knowledge of factors surrounding sexual abuse increases with age. Responses indicated that children had difficulty identifying high risk situations and that common misconceptions were maintained after completion of the programme. Ways in which developmental factors may impinge on learning of preventative concepts are considered.

Link to full paper


Community-Based Fire Preparedness Programmes: An Empirical Evaluation
by Dr Bernd Rohrmann

Keywords: fire, disaster preparedness, risk communication, evaluation

In countries such as Australia, fires are a constant threat to communities, with the potential for grave disasters to occur. Wherever people are exposed to the risk of fires, hazard prevention becomes a very important task. Risk information/communication/ education about fire hazards in the workplace or in homes, and about bushfires near residential settings is an indispensable part of that. Yet are the efforts of fire authorities successful? Do they enhance community safety? And what are the preconditions of effective programs? To answer such questions, evaluation research is required.

In this article, firstly methodological considerations are elaborated, dealing with evaluation approaches, assessment criteria and study designs. Secondly, a theoretical model of the fire risk communication process is presented, focussing on the socio-psychological factors which influence the outcomes of a campaign. Thirdly, empirical data from an evaluation study conducted in Melbourne, Australia will be reported. In this project, participants in a novel program of the Victorian CFA, "Community Fireguard", were surveyed, based on a Pre/Post design. For comparisons, a control group not exposed to the campaign was included. A special sample dealt with people who had recently experienced a major fire. In addition, the perspectives and experiences of fire officers were investigated. The results available so far are very encouraging for CFA's new approach to bushfire preparedness of residents.

The findings also indicate for which issues further in-depth research is needed. Finally, some conclusions for the design of risk communication campaigns are discussed.

Link to full paper

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