Volume 21, Number 1

Contents - Volume 21, Number 1

Published May 2017
Volume 21, Number 1 (complete issue)

Contents page - Volume 21, Number 1


Research Papers

New Zealand wheelchair users’ preparedness for emergencies

J.A. Dunn, J.M. Nicholls, D.L. Snell & J.L. Nunnerley

Keywords: emergency preparedness, wheelchair users, people with disabilities, disaster management, emergency planning

People with disabilities are disproportionally affected by emergency situations. They experience higher mortality rates and greater vulnerability than the general population due to disrupted infrastructure and services. Although personal preparedness has been identified as one of the most effective ways to mitigate the emergency-related risks, personal preparedness among people with disabilities is reported to be low. The aim of this study was to investigate emergency preparedness of wheelchair users in New Zealand and to compare their preparedness levels with those of the general population. A nationwide survey of adult, community dwelling wheelchair users was conducted. Of 101 participants, less than 30 percent had made emergency preparations for a future emergency which is substantially lower than the rate reported among the general New Zealand population. Fewer than 20 percent of survey participants were planning for their disability specific needs. Personal preparedness barriers identified included the need for assistance from someone else to carry out planning activities (50%), lack of disability relevant information (37%), limited accessibility to information (24%), cost (23%), and being unable to stockpile medications (20%) or consumables (11%). Overall, participants reported lower levels of personal emergency preparedness and a higher incidence of barriers to preparedness than reported by the general New Zealand population. A comprehensive plan of further work and research could enable genuinely inclusive emergency planning for future emergency events in New Zealand. To achieve this outcome, emergency planners, responders and researchers must partner with disabled people so that planning meets the emergency related needs of disabled New Zealanders.

Getting through: Children’s effective coping and adaptation in the context of the Canterbury, New Zealand, Earthquakes of 2010-2012

Maureen Mooney, Ruth Tarrant, Douglas Paton, Sarb Johal & David Johnston

Keywords: Children, effective coping, adaptation, earthquake, disaster, Canterbury

Children may experience distress and can become vulnerable as the result of a disaster. However, recent research suggests that children experiencing such adversity can address adversity by employing their capacities to adapt. The present study investigates how children coped effectively with a disaster, the Canterbury, New Zealand earthquakes of 2010-2102, and identifies strategies, processes, and resources that promoted effective coping and adaptation. Semistructured interviews took place with 38 children from three different age groups, with 31 parents, and with 11 teachers and principals from five Canterbury schools. Children were interviewed twenty months after the first earthquake, during an ongoing aftershock sequence, and six selected children were interviewed again sixteen months later. Thematic analysis of interview data identified multiple, inter-connected coping strategies and resources in the children that were fundamental to their post-disaster adaptation. Children coping effectively employed a repertoire of diverse coping strategies in a flexible and pertinent manner. Three key strategies employed by the children were emotional regulation, positive reframing, and problem-solving. Sixteen months later, the children had shifted their focus away from coping with earthquakes to coping with everyday problems. It is expected that findings from this study will contribute to future interventions for promoting effective coping and adaptation by children.

In some strange way, trouble is good for people. Posttraumatic growth following the Canterbury earthquake sequence

Rebekah Smith, Virginia V W McIntosh, Janet D Carter, Helen Colhoun, Jenny Jordan, Frances A Carter & Caroline J Bell

Keywords: Postraumatic growth, Canterbury Earthquakes, thematic analysis, content analysis, sense of community

Posttraumatic growth has been documented after exposure to trauma in individuals with major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders but has not been examined in individuals without these psychological conditions. The current study analysed interview data to explore whether posttraumatic growth was reported by psychologically healthy individuals affected by the Canterbury earthquakes. Transcripts from semi-structured interviews with 99 Canterbury residents with moderate-to-high earthquake exposure, without symptoms of psychological disorders, were examined using thematic and content analysis to identify reported aspects of posttraumatic growth. Three analysts coded emerging themes until theme saturation occurred. Differences in male and female participants’ endorsement of themes, including co-existing positive and negative outcomes, were included in subsequent content analysis. Posttraumatic growth was widely reported by both males and females. Relevant themes included improved relationships, feeling stronger in oneself, greater appreciation of life, and spiritual change. Another theme, a stronger sense of community, reflected a qualitatively novel aspect of posttraumatic growth, not reported in prior research. The prevalence of this theme may have been due to the shared nature of the earthquake sequence. Overall, participants reported positive appraisals of their circumstances, of others, and of themselves. Having a role to play appeared to contribute to important aspects of post-earthquake functioning, including taking action, coping, and making a contribution. Women, more than men, reported the positive strategies of self-care and connecting with others. The current study indicates that psychologically healthy individuals experience posttraumatic growth, suggesting that psychological dysfunction, or substantial or ongoing distress are not needed for posttraumatic growth to occur. This is contrary to existing theories of posttraumatic growth and suggests that current models of posttraumatic growth processes may be incomplete. Existing models may also be improved by considering the role played by psychological resilience by considering collective experiences such as a stronger sense of community.

Practice Update

Get prepared for an emergency: An infographic

D. Blake, A. Miller & A. Rampton

Keywords: Preparedness, emergency management, infographic, earthquake, disability, community

Effective preparedness messages increase human capacity to prepare, respond and minimise harm during an emergency. The purpose of this study was to highlight the development of a pictorial infographic resource for earthquake and other emergencies for older people, people with mobility issues and people with literacy concerns in Aotearoa/New Zealand. A case study methodology was used to enable an in-depth description of the processes involved in designing, developing and disseminating the infographic. Case studies provide a medium to represent community-situated knowledge and expertise. They value context, specificity and lived experience. The second two authors drove the initiative, and project managed the production of the infographic. The first author conducted a semi-structured interview with the other two authors to garner details of the process. This interview was transcribed and the case study outline was crafted. The authors went on to produce this paper collectively. The outcomes of this case study include recommending that a multidisciplinary approach be used to engage a range of stakeholders, to produce suitable preparedness messages for a range of audiences. Designing preparedness resources necessitates an iterative method and collective decision-making by relevant stakeholders. International best-practice guidelines provide evidence to ensure suitable resources are produced and gaps in knowledge identified, so that emergency preparedness is accessible for all.


All papers are protected under the Creative Commons attribution as per our copyright notice.

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