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Supporting Children After a Disaster: A Case Study of a Psychosocial School-Based Intervention

Abstract

Children are among the most vulnerable groups during and after a natural disaster experiencing a range of stressors such as fear of death or loss of a loved one, the loss of a home and community, displacement to a strange neighborhood or school, and even separation from their family. This study, conducted in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, after a series of tornadoes struck the city in 2011, examines the Journey of Hope (JoH), a psychosocial program designed to help children cope with disaster related stressors. It employed a case study approach examining the program’s impact through interviews with 5 social workers, 14 program facilitators and 30 child participants. Findings revealed that participating in the JoH helped children: articulate their feelings, process grief, regulate emotions such as anger and aggression, and gain knowledge on how to handle bullying behaviors in their school. This article builds on the literature supporting post-disaster psychosocial school-based interventions.

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Correspondence to Tara Powell.

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Powell, T., Holleran-Steiker, L.K. Supporting Children After a Disaster: A Case Study of a Psychosocial School-Based Intervention. Clin Soc Work J 45, 176–188 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-015-0557-y

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Keywords

  • Children
  • Disaster
  • School-based intervention
  • Universal