Exploring the Effects of Hurricane Matthew: Perceptions of Elementary Educators
Schlierf, Emily Elizabeth
Natural disasters have a traumatic impact that is pronounced in vulnerable populations such as children and areas of low socio-economic status. Children experience secondary effects from disasters such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms which are addressed by disaster relief teams and helping professionals such as physicians, nurses, counselors, educators, and child life specialists to prevent and ameliorate these consequences. The current qualitative study explores elementary school educators' experiences, perceptions, and preparation on addressing students' impacts after Hurricane Matthew. Theories of human ecology, family stress, and socio-emotional development guided this study to explore educators' viewpoints on needs, stressors, coping skills, and developmental impacts on children, including the role of child life specialists in a disaster relief setting. A qualitative approach was selected to describe and understand views of educators who work with affected children. Four elementary school educators from eastern North Carolina, an area affected by Hurricane Matthew in October of 2017 [i.e. 2016], participated in 30-minute open-ended interviews that identified and highlighted common themes. Results indicated that educators recognized disaster-related impacts, stressors, and behaviors in students, but lacked preparedness to support and address their coping skills. Educators reported supporting students, yet expressed a need for assistance from experts and preparatory training programs. Teaching coping skills and offering support is important due to secondary traumatization among children, particularly in high poverty areas. Further suggestions are examined to address psychosocial needs of children and families undergoing disaster-related stress, including promoting the role of child life specialists.
Schlierf, Emily Elizabeth. (May 2018). Exploring the Effects of Hurricane Matthew: Perceptions of Elementary Educators (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/6778.)
Schlierf, Emily Elizabeth. Exploring the Effects of Hurricane Matthew: Perceptions of Elementary Educators. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, May 2018. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/6778. December 01, 2020.
Schlierf, Emily Elizabeth, “Exploring the Effects of Hurricane Matthew: Perceptions of Elementary Educators” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, May 2018).
Schlierf, Emily Elizabeth. Exploring the Effects of Hurricane Matthew: Perceptions of Elementary Educators [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; May 2018.
East Carolina University