Session: Advancing Critical Dialogue on Disaster Research: Theory, Evidence and Practice (Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference - Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice)

34 Advancing Critical Dialogue on Disaster Research: Theory, Evidence and Practice

Thursday, January 11, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Marquis BR Salon 12 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Sustainable Development, Urbanization, and Environmental Justice
Symposium Organizer:
Regardt Ferreira, PhD, Tulane University
Charles Figley, PhD, Tulane University
Given the significant increase of disasters worldwide, and social work being on the frontlines, it is essential that social work scholars and practitioners be at the forefront of critical discourse about disaster research, theory, and practice. There is increasing recognition that social workers will face greater challenges in working with trauma-exposed populations (Breckenridge & James, 2010; START, 2016). These challenges span the context of personal and interpersonal trauma, mass violence and terrorism, and weather and manmade related disasters. Disasters impact multiple systems, including the individual, household, and the community at large. This symposium takes an ecological perspective to building resilience in the context of disaster, and offers five papers that utilize disaster research approaches and concepts in an effort to critically engage with, and enhance definitions of, theoretical resiliency and coping. Furthermore, these papers address challenges to resilience across the individual, household, and community levels and weaves together the interactions among these systems, recognizing that resilience does not develop in vacuum. Most importantly, these papers highlight the need to critically evaluate coping and resiliency measures amongst the most vulnerable groups within society to create equity and justice for all. In paper 1 Powell and Wegmann, use an innovative statistical methodology (exploratory structural equation modeling) to analyze, a widely used non-diagnostic clinical assessment of coping in a population of adolescent girls following Hurricane Katrina; emphasizing the role of individual demographic factors and developmental stage in coping with trauma and disaster. In paper 2 Baker and Cormier evaluates an education intervention to increase preparedness levels among households with pets as a mechanism for increasing evacuation and safe sheltering behaviors. In paper 3 Ferreira, uses multilevel modeling to enhance the understanding of the interplay between contextual/community and individual resilience factors, and their effects on individual resilience in disaster prone communities. In paper 4 Saltzman et al. will present research that explores the relationship between perceived threat to psychosocial resources and the development of PTSD among two minority groups within Israel, highlighting the interplay between individual demographic and societal characteristics. Finally, in paper 5, Cross Hansel explore a model of disaster resilience, with the objective to understand the influence of disaster experiences, environmental concerns, environmental quality of life, and mental health on resilience. These five papers and moderated discussion offer a timely opportunity for social work scholars to engage in a critical consideration of the role of social work disaster research in both research and practice; the complexity of defining disaster and trauma concepts; and an expanded understanding of the role of disaster at both micro and macro levels. We hope that focusing on disaster resilience, it will bring trauma specialists toward collaborating on disaster research in social work and increase effective disaster-related mitigation, that best predict and promote post-disaster human resilience.
* noted as presenting author
Examining Ways of Coping in Hurricane Affected Youth:  an Exploratory Structural Equation Model of the Kidcope
Tara Powell, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Kate Wegmann, PhD, MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Removing Barriers to Evacuation: Evaluation of a Preparedness Intervention
Lisa Baker, PhD, University of Alabama, Birmingham; Loretta Cormier, PhD, University of Alabama, Birmingham
The Mediating Role of Psychosocial Resources in Mental Health Outcomes in Contexts of Mass Violence
Leia Saltzman, PhD, Hebrew University; Daphna Canetti, PhD, Political Science; Steven Hobfoll, Rush University; Brian Hall, PhD, Global and Community Mental Health Research Group
The Influence of Environmental Perceptions and Mental Health on Post Disaster Resilience
Tonya Hansel, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans; Howard Osofsky, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans; Joy Osofsky, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans
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