alexa The Process of Rebuilding Human Resilience in the Face of the Experience of a Natural Disaster: A Multisystem Model
ISSN: 1522-4821

International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience
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Research Article

The Process of Rebuilding Human Resilience in the Face of the Experience of a Natural Disaster: A Multisystem Model

Colin MacDougall1,2, Lisa Gibbs3, Gisela van Kessel4*

1Doctor of Philosophy, Professor of Public Health & Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity School of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia

2Principal Fellow (Honorary), Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

3Doctor of Philosophy, Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program, Centre for Health Equity, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

4Doctor of Public Health, International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia Adelaide, South Australia.

*Corresponding Author:
Gisela van Kessel
Doctor of Public Health, International Centre for Allied Health Evidence
University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia.
Email: [email protected]
 

Abstract

This paper explores the process of resilience in multiple system levels through the perspectives of people who experienced a natural disaster in Australia. By focussing on human resilience, the paper adds to the literature by taking a salutogenic approach to addressing the effects on mental health arising from living through a natural disaster. The authors analysed 19 semi-structured interviews with people who experienced the 2010/11 floods in Victoria, Australia, and 20 witness statements from people who experienced the 2009 Victorian bushfires. We used an interpretive and comparative content analysis, through the lens of Bronfenbrenner’s theory, to develop an ecological model of the processes within and between systems that contributed to community resilience. Findings suggest that resilience is supported by goals to rebuild a sense of home, a network of friends and a sense of community. We conclude that enhancing community resilience required consideration of the roles and actions of others (media, government, relief agencies) as well as an individual’s resources from existing and new networks. The multiple-system model of resilience describes the complex integration of individual and community resilience to guide people involved at the multiple levels of disaster management with strategies that support communities that experience adversity.

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