Abstract: The Role of Youth and Young Adults in Natural Disaster Mitigation and Response: A Scoping Review (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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692P The Role of Youth and Young Adults in Natural Disaster Mitigation and Response: A Scoping Review

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Anna Hayward, PhD, Associate Professor, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Melissa Bessaha, PhD, Assistant Professor, State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY
Background and Purpose: Youth and young adults have been identified as assets in mitigation and management for natural disasters in the United States and abroad. From the perspectives of social justice, civic engagement, and youth empowerment, understanding the role of youth and young adults is an important future direction for disaster-related research. This presentation will reveal findings from a scoping review of the literature on disaster mitigation, response, and recovery following natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, landslides, floods, and severe weather events) with a particular focus on the engagement of youth and young adults. In the context of a global pandemic, understanding youth and young adult roles in disaster mitigation is especially salient as we engage youth in mitigation and recovery efforts across the globe.

Methods: Using the Arksey & O’Malley (2005) model of a scoping review to broadly summarize existing literature, we identified studies that answered the primary research question: What is the role of youth and young adults in community natural disaster mitigation and response? The search strategy was developed by a research team that included health sciences librarians. A comprehensive electronic search was conducted using several databases (i.e.., Web of Science, PsycINFO, Social Work Abstracts, ERIC, and Environment Complete) and keywords and index terms were searched using relevant terms associated with four concepts: (1) age (e.g., youth, young adult, teen), (2) participation type (e.g., engagement, centered, participation), (3) natural disaster type (e.g., hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, severe weather event), and (4) disaster response type (e.g., planning, mitigation, resilience).

Results: The search yielded 187 studies published between 1990-2020. Of these studies, 19 met inclusion criteria that included research on the role of youth or young adults between the ages of 16-24 in mitigation and response to natural disasters in their communities. Identified studies focused on mitigation and recovery efforts in eight different countries responding to natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, hurricanes, landslides, and tsunamis. Themes of youth participation or youth-led efforts focused on: community mobilization and resilience (n = 5), youth empowerment and youth as agents of change (n = 6), knowledge and communication (n = 2), education-community partnerships (n = 4), participation in policy and advocacy (n = 1), and post-disaster rescue efforts and first-aid (n = 1).

Conclusions and Implications: With a changing climate and increase in weather related natural disasters, as well as in the context of a global health pandemic, community based groups would benefit from learning from international efforts to engage youth and young adults in disaster mitigation and recovery efforts. This scoping review identifies key elements of these efforts to potentially inform the development of relevant, cost-effective, and culturally appropriate interventions that encourage and empower youth involvement in mitigation and response efforts.