Volume 24, Number 3

Contents - Volume 24, Number 3

Published December 2020
Volume 24, Number 3 (complete issue)

Contents page - Volume 24, Number 3


Research Papers

Exploring an anniversary effect three years after the February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake

Ellen A. Turnbull, Martin J. Dorahy, Eileen Britt & Donncha Hanna

Keywords: Earthquakes, distress, anniversary

The anniversary of a traumatic event can lead to psychological distress. Though triggers of psychological distress have been generally documented in the trauma literature, the impact of earthquake anniversaries is less well understood, particularly in relation to when distress symptoms are most heightened. The present study investigated an anniversary effect on psychological distress three years after the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, whether this effect differed in communities with different levels of physical impact or financial resource, and if it was more pronounced before or after the anniversary. Respondents were from six Christchurch suburbs differing in socioeconomic status and physical damage from the earthquake. Psychological distress was assessed via self-report measures of posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety. Assessment took place 2-3 weeks before the third anniversary (n = 300) and 2-3 weeks after it (n = 300). Symptoms of posttraumatic stress and depression were greater after the anniversary than before, particularly in medium to low socioeconomic status suburbs and those suburbs that experienced greater physical damage from the earthquakes. Contrary to predictions, the findings demonstrate a delayed anniversary reaction that manifested in the weeks following the earthquake anniversary.

Factor structure of the Brief COPE in a population from Australia and New Zealand exposed to a disaster

Lee Kannis-Dymand, Prudence M. Millear, Rachael Sharman & Janet D. Carter

Keywords: Brief COPE, factor structure, disaster, floods, earthquakes

The Brief COPE is a widely used instrument to measure coping behaviours. However, the number of factors can vary across populations and the contexts in which they are utilised, raising concerns about the generalisability of the coping subscales from one study to another. The current study used participants who had experienced the Canterbury earthquakes in New Zealand or the Queensland floods in Australia (N = 674), randomly divided into two equal groups. First, using principal components analysis (PCA), the following four coping factors were identified and explained 49% of the variance: problem-focused, emotion-focused, dysfunctional, and religious coping. Using the second group of participants, this factor structure was compared with previously published factor structures for the Brief COPE using confirmatory factor analysis and our disaster-affected sample. Using the published item parcels and factors, the best fit for our sample was the factors identified in our initial PCA, rather than that of other researchers, with some configurations having a poor fit or being inadmissible. Results indicate that the structure and item loadings for the Brief COPE do not generalise between studies and similarly named factors may include different items. Therefore, researchers should be mindful of the potential inconsistencies with the Brief COPE and the interpretation of coping behaviours across populations and contexts.


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