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Contents & Abstracts
Volume 1999-2

The Australasian Journal of Disaster
and Trauma Studies
ISSN:  1174-4707
Volume : 1999-2

Editorial : Exporting Trauma Programs
by John Raftery


Disaster Stress Following a Hurricane: The role of religious differences in the Fijian Islands
by Matt Gillard & Douglas Paton

Keywords: Disaster, vulnerability, religion, culture, stress

This paper explores the influence of religion on disaster stress in Fijian Islanders. Interview data revealed that religious groups could be segregated in regard to the assistance afforded them and the demands made upon them by religious organisations. A questionnaire examining these dimensions, together with a stress and traumatic stress measure, was used to compare the impact of Hurricane Nigel (1997) on Christian Fijians, Indians who follow Islam, and Indians who practice Hinduism. The results revealed that religious denomination exercised a differential impact on vulnerability, although differences were partially dependent on the measure of vulnerability used. Explanations for these differences, and their implications for intervention, are discussed.

Link to full paper

Value Conflict Arising from a Disaster
by A.J.W. Taylor

Keywords: Value conflicts, religion and health, natural disaster causation

A stress/trauma assignment in the Cook Islands revived questions about the effect of certain Christian belief/value systems in the immediate post-impact period of recovery. It suggested that although there is no question that values have a fundamental place in guiding human behaviour, the specific attributions that the clergy made at the time for the cause of the calamity were inappropriate and anachronistic. The topic will be opened up, its antecedents traced, and the implications explored. At issue is the validity of using moral transgression as the cause of natural disasters and of expecting atonement, when a tenable and well-attested scientific alternative explanation is available. It raises matters to which academics, practitioners, and emergency workers might need to pay attention.

Link to full paper

Cross-cultural Counseling In Disaster Settings
by George W. Doherty

Keywords: Disaster, Counselling, cross-cultural, consultation

This article reviews cross-cultural counseling, presents a review of a number of studies involving disaster victims and workers in other cultures and presents information about cross-cultural aspects of grief. It discusses some general methods and approaches that disaster mental health professionals should consider when contemplating providing disaster mental health services outside of their own culture. Emphasis is made that collaboration with providers and/or "culture-brokers" from the culture should be sought. Most common findings across cultures for those affected by disasters was that most symptoms of victims were those associated with PTSD, depression, and anxiety disorders. Understanding the role of families is discussed as well as effects of disasters on children. The research and literature suggest that children are at risk for PTSD, depression, and anxiety disorders as well as developmental delays as a result. Sensitivity in dealing with grief and grief rituals across cultures is emphasized. The development of an international disaster mental health services model with a strong emphasis on cross-cultural factors, consultation, collaboration, and education is suggested as a method to help mitigate and plan appropriate responses to disaster related mental health responses and problems.

Link to full paper

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