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Contents & Abstracts
Volume 2011-1

The Australasian Journal of Disaster
and Trauma Studies
ISSN:  1174-4707
Volume : 2011-1

Editorial : Risk and Resilience in Turbulent Times: Recent insights into managing hazard effects and traumatic stress
by Douglas Paton


Framing effects on disaster preparation: Is negative framing more effective?
by John McClure and Chris G Sibley
Keywords: framing effects, goal framing, disaster preparedness, risk communication

The positive and negative framing of messages about a risk influences people’s intentions to adopt precautions. Framing research has confounded the framing of outcomes (experiencing harm and avoiding harm) with the framing of preventive actions (taking or not taking preventive action). A study manipulated these two factors with judgments about the importance of earthquake preparation and specific preventive actions with citizens (n = 200) in Wellington (New Zealand). Judgments of the general importance of preparedness were affected by outcome frames but not action frames; these judgments were higher with negatively framed outcomes than positive outcomes. Intentions to take specific actions were enhanced by the negative framing of both the outcome and the specific action. These findings clarify which framing messages are most likely to increase preventive actions in relation to risks.

Link to full paper

Self-esteem and Sense of Mastery Influencing Disaster Preparedness Behaviour
by Sasmita Mishra, Damodar Suar & Douglas Paton
Keywords: Self-esteem, sense of mastery, communal mastery, disaster preparedness
This study examines whether self-esteem and sense of mastery influence preparedness behaviour. Data were collected from 300 people each of flood prone and heat wave affected areas in Orissa. Results revealed that when the confounding effects of age and family type were controlled, people having high self-esteem and sense of mastery were more prepared for flood and heat wave. The results confirm the assumptions of ‘resource conservation’ theory that the important psychological resources like sense of mastery and self-esteem facilitate disaster preparedness. Hence, govt. officials and agencies responsible for community preparedness may take additional effort to enhance self-esteem and mastery of the people.

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The Strange Lake Nyos CO2 Gas Disaster: Impacts and The Displacement and Return of Affected Communities
by Forka Leypey Mathew Fomine
Keywords: Lake Nyos, Cameroon, carbon dioxide gas, asphyxiation, resettlement, disaster
At about 9 p. m. on Thursday 21 August 1986 in Cameroon an enormous volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas was released from Lake Nyos, a volcanic crater lake in Cameroon. The gas flowed down towards nearby settlements and killed approximately 1,800 people, 3000 cattle, and countless wild animals, birds and insects – in short almost every living creature for miles around. The official human death toll was only an estimate, the reason being that before competent authorities who collected statistics on the mortality rate could reach the disaster area, some survivors had already begun to bury victims in mass graves, and many terrified survivors had even fled corpse-filled villages and hid themselves in the forest. The impact of this event resulted in the massive involuntary resettlement of people from nearby settlements.

The villages that were most affected by the disaster included Cha, Subum and Nyos, situated in Fungom periphery in the North West Region (previously North West Province) of Cameroon. It took two days for a medical team to arrive the lake site after local officials had called the Governor of the Northwest Region to report the strange occurrence. When the doctors and other medical personnel arrived at the lake, they found an unthinkable catastrophe and a fatal disaster far greater than they could have imagined. This article sets out to decipher and unravel the origins of the disaster, its far-reaching effects and how it led to forced human migration and massive involuntary resettlement in the region.

Link to full paper

Violence, Psychological Trauma, and Possible Acute Post-traumatic Interventions in Pakistani Society
by Muhammad Tahir Khalily, Suzane Foley, Ijaz Hussain & Maher Bano
Keywords: violent situation in Pakistan, psychological trauma, treatment response, Trauma center
The aim of the article is to explore the extent of the current violence in Pakistani society as a consequence of the global war on terrorism, and the resultant physical damage and high incidence of psychological trauma among survivors.

It also examines models of mental healthcare system response, which do not exist currently nor exist at the policy level. In fact, there is no indication that planning to address this problem is in the pipeline of government planning.

The paper also proposes a comprehensive treatment modality in line with international standards to meet the current challenges in collaboration with non-governmental organizations on an emergency basis. It is also suggested that a centre of excellence to train mental health professionals, and policy makers about this burning and important issue.

Link to full paper

Culture-Sensitive and Resource Oriented Peer (CROP) - Groups as a Community Based Intervention for Trauma Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study with Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Chechnya
by Walter Renner, Eva Bänninger-Huber & Karl Peltzer
Keywords: Post-Traumatic Stress, Asylum Seekers, Refugees, Self-Help, Evaluation
Asylum seekers and refugees frequently suffer from post-traumatic stress and culturally sensitive methods towards reducing symptoms should be taken into account. The aim of the work reported here was to examine the effectiveness of Culture-Sensitive and Resource Oriented Peer (CROP) - Groups for Chechen asylum seekers and refugees towards reducing post-traumatic symptoms, anxiety, and depression. Some ninety-four participants were randomly assigned to 15 sessions of CROP - or Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) - Groups, to 3 single sessions of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or to a Wait-List (WL). The results indicated that CROP was significantly superior to WL, and was equally effective as CBT in reducing post-traumatic symptoms, anxiety, and depression. Improvements still were present at three and six month follow-up occasions. EMDR yielded negative results. According to this pilot study, CROP-Groups pose a promising, culturally sensitive alternative to psychotherapy with Chechen migrants.

Link to full paper

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