Volcano icon

Contents & Abstracts
Volume 2006-2

The Australasian Journal of Disaster
and Trauma Studies
ISSN:  1174-4707
Volume : 2006-2

Editorial : Responding to disaster: Questioning assumptions and building capacity
by Douglas Paton


Well-being in Protective Services Personnel: Organisational Influences
by Karena J. Burke & Douglas Paton

Keywords: emergency services, organisational climate, job satisfaction, traumatic events, occupational stress

Personnel employed in the protective services are routinely exposed to events and situations that can be described as stress inducing and traumatic. While the general stereotype is that these occupations are highly stressful, as a result of this repeated exposure, recent studies have shown that such personnel rate the organisational characteristics of their job as more stressful than operational exposure to traumatic incidents. The aim of this investigation was to apply a model of organisational health in an emergency services context, with a specific focus on the contribution of organisational factors to employee stress and well-being. Participants were 321 police, ambulance and firefighting personnel. Structural equation modelling analysis revealed that organisational climate had the strongest influence on employee job satisfaction, with both direct and mediated relationships through coping and daily work experiences. The fact that organisational processes have such a profound impact on employee well being highlights the importance of acknowledging the effect of organisational influences on protective services employees, particularly for the development and promotion of truly preventative mechanisms in dealing with critical incident and occupational stress.

Link to full paper

Of hierarchy and hoarding: How “inefficiencies” actually make disaster relief “work”
by Sidney Dekker & Nalini Suparamaniam

Keywords: procedures, plans, relief work, authority, hierarchy, efficiency

Over a period of three years we interviewed over 150 relief workers and team leaders who had been “in the field”, as well as their managers at various levels. As predicted by the literature, the gap between administrative and deployment images of disaster relief work can be large—what Simon called “the insulation of higher levels of the administrative hierarchy from the world of fact” (1998; p. 320). What has not been highlighted before, however, is how this gap allows for “inefficiencies” (particularly in resource and logistics management) that actually help relief work function. Particularly tactical, local resource hoarding by team leaders, designed to reduce coupling and manage their own reputation and “prestige” proves possible only through the existence of gap. Thus, what makes disaster relief inefficient, is also what makes it “work” in terms of getting appropriate relief to local settings.

Link to full paper

Resistance to Cross-cultural Psychosocial Efforts in Disaster and Trauma: Recommendations for Ethnomedical Competence
by Siddharth Ashvin Shah

Keywords: psychosocial treatment, relief work, disaster relief, tsunami relief, psychological trauma, cross-cultural trauma recovery, trans-cultural treatments, alternative treatments

Native (local) resistance and dissatisfaction regarding international, cross-cultural mental health responses (trauma relief) hinder the ability of international agencies to aid in cases of natural disaster, war, and displacement. International and native relief efforts frequently overlook culturally-embedded treatments; instead, they devote enormous funds and personnel to implement the spread of Western therapies. Selected culturally-embedded treatments could be more effective, less resource intensive, or less disruptive, but there is little research to support or reject specific treatments. Ethnomedical competence strives to fairly judge non-Western therapies whereas cultural competence is flawed in privileging Western therapies. This paper maintains that agencies working cross-culturally should ascertain how culturally-embedded treatments are (or are not) being utilized and implement an appropriate plan of integrated services.

Link to full paper

| Home | Current | Back Issues | Reports | Conferences | Books | Links | Information |

Comments to
Massey University, New Zealand
URL: http://trauma.massey.ac.nz/


Last changed September 29, 2006
Copyright © 2006 Massey University
Counter = since September 29, 2006