Experiences of anger following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires: implications for post-disaster service provision
AuthorKellett, Connie Sandra
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2021-06-26.
© 2018 Dr. Connie Sandra Kellett
This study investigates the question “What are the experiences of anger post-disaster?” to better understand anger following disaster and establish service provision guidance. Theoretical anger conceptualisations typically engaged in disaster recovery environments are psychological and relate to psychopathology, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This research engaged anger-related theory more broadly including both psychological and sociological theory. This qualitative research was a nested study within the Beyond Bushfires: Community, Resilience, Recovery research study. A total of 38 participants including both community members and service providers were interviewed individually and within focus groups to explore anger experiences. The service provider participants were from a range of roles: direct service providers, managers and senior disaster leaders. The breadth of work forces providing recovery services were also represented: three tiers of government, emergency services, community health, counsellors, case-managers, emergency responders and hub staff. Data were gathered and analysed utilising a discourse-based narrative approach called the ‘social interaction approach’ (SIA). Anger was found to be an active emotion post-disaster: immediate, intense, and frequent, extreme, prolonged, destructive, productive, justified and connected to other emotions. Anger was experienced differently post-disaster, nonetheless, triggers for anger are considered by service providers and community members to be about real events. Traditional gendered identities within regional areas and accompanying expectations of behaviour, seemed to influence experiences and expressions of anger including aggression, violence and family violence. Analysis of community member and service provider data highlighted factors influencing anger including: a sense of community control over recovery; methods of leadership including transparency and honesty and bottom-up processes; equity of provision of financial assistance, which was integral within and between communities; and expectation in terms of whether disaster responders established clarity around services that could be provided for communities. There were limitations with the research: the research was conducted with a culturally homogenous group following one disaster in one region of Australia limiting the scope of the data, and lack of a circular process for participants to review the conclusions drawn resulted in a lost opportunity to confirm conclusions. Numerous potential future research projects are recommended, including research developing an evidence-based framework of service intervention with anger, as well as understandings of anger, gender, violence or family violence and service provision. Ten recommendations for service provision are offered as guidance outlining the approaches that a service provider could take to engage with and respond to anger within a disaster recovery environment.
Keywordsanger; disaster; family violence; recovery; service provision; expectation; emergency management; intimate partner violence
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