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Religious narratives and their implications for coping, recovery, and disaster risk reduction

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Item Summary

Title:Religious narratives and their implications for coping, recovery, and disaster risk reduction
Authors:McGeehan, Kathleen Marie
disaster risk reduction
show 6 moreTohoku
Latter Day Saints
United Methodist
show less
Date Issued:May 2014
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
Abstract:Many factors shape the way catastrophic disaster impacts a community, including economic, social, political, cultural, and religious characteristics of the community. The role of religious factors in the disaster experience has been under-investigated, despite evidence of the influence of religious factors in all phases of the disaster cycle, including: the way the event is interpreted; the way the community recovers; and the immediate and long-term strategies that are implemented to reduce future disaster risk. This qualitative study examines the following factors among members of four distinct faith communities in the Hawaiian Islands: 1) religious narratives related to community-level disaster events; 2) level of disaster preparedness; 3) causal attribution; 4) faith-based coping mechanisms; and 5) post-disaster support. Twenty-six (26) individuals from the Bahá'í, Buddhist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), and United Methodist Church communities participated in this study, including 8 faith leaders and 18 lay members of communities in the sample. Using video as a method of elicitation, participant experiences with the 2011 Tohoku tsunami and their reactions to a simulated tsunami event directly impacting Hawaiʻi informed this exploration. Results suggested that religious narratives and historical figures do provide a framework for interpretation of and recovery from disaster events. Faith leaders, while reported by participants to serve as both thought leaders and resource hubs, provided less formal interpretation and direction in faith communities with less hierarchical leadership structures. Preparedness varied widely across faith communities, with members of the LDS reporting substantially greater levels of preparedness than other communities. Within-group comparisons revealed a fairly cohesive set of narratives, interpretive frameworks, and coping strategies within each faith community, with little variance between leaders and lay members of faith communities. Comparisons among the communities in the sample revealed a diverse set of perspectives in causal attribution, as well as the level of struggle with the role of God in disaster events. Recommendations include the development of bi-directional support systems between disaster managers and faith leaders to increase disaster preparedness within faith communities, which may ultimately facilitate community-wide disaster risk reduction.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Psychology

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