Community readiness for a new tsunami warning system: quasi-experimental and benchmarking evaluation of a school education component

Abstract

Youth preparedness for disasters is a growing area of research. However, studies to date have relied on cross-sectional, correlational research designs. The current study replicated aspects of the one other study to date that has used a quasi-experimental strategy to evaluate youth preparedness for disasters. This study evaluated whether children were more knowledgeable and prepared for hazards generally but also in more specific relation to the rollout of a new tsunami warning system. Using a pretest–posttest with benchmarking design, the study found that following a brief school education program, supplementing a larger community-wide effort, children reported significant gains in preparedness indicators including increased knowledge as well as increases in physical and psychosocial preparedness. Within group effect sizes compared favorably with those from the previous experimental study in this area used to benchmark current intervention-produced findings and produced hints that combining school education programs with larger community preparedness efforts can enhance preparedness. Given that this is only one of two experimentally-based studies in an area of research largely dominated by cross-sectional designs, future research should consider the use of experimental designs, including those that are pragmatic and fit with needs of the school. The current approach has limitations that need to be considered. However, it also has some real advantages, including being used more extensively in fieldwork studies that evaluate various types of interventions. Through increased use of experimental design strategies, researchers can then also have increased confidence that educational programs are the source of increases in disaster resilience in youth and their families.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Totals do not add up to 213 here and regarding other demographics owing to missing data.

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Correspondence to Kevin R. Ronan.

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Ronan, K.R., Crellin, K. & Johnston, D.M. Community readiness for a new tsunami warning system: quasi-experimental and benchmarking evaluation of a school education component. Nat Hazards 61, 1411–1425 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-011-0070-8

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Keywords

  • Hazards education
  • Preparedness
  • Youth resilience
  • Hazards adjustment