Communicating with children and adolescents about the risk of natural disasters.
Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2018;9(sup2):1429771
Authors: Midtbust LGH, Dyregrov A, Djup HW
A vast number of people annually are affected by natural disasters. Children are at risk of losing their lives and suffer mentally or physically after such events. The fostering of resilience and preparedness ahead of disasters can reduce untoward effects of disastrous events. Risk communication and disaster education are considered important aspects of disaster preparedness, but little is known about whether such strategies influence children’s behaviour when natural disasters occur or how they cope in the aftermath. This paper presents and discusses various strategies that promote preparedness activities to save lives. To a minor extent, it also includes strategies that can promote coping in the aftermath. Strategies such as informational campaigns, educational activities, psychoeducation and parental guidance are addressed. The literature to date indicates that schools are a suitable arena for risk communication, and that adolescents themselves should be involved and engaged in the communication strategies. However, the relationship between knowledge of preparedness strategies and the resulting preparedness actions is largely unknown. It is unknown whether changes in awareness and attitudes have resulted in actual behaviour change. It is advocated that preparedness activities and parental involvement should supplement information-based strategies.
PMID: 29441156 [PubMed]