142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Journey of Hope: A school-based intervention for children who have experienced a natural disaster

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Tara Powell, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Background.  Natural disasters can have a significant impact a child’s social and emotional well-being.  Symptoms children may exhibit range from acute stress to longer term post-traumatic stress. This research evaluated a post-disaster mental school-based intervention, the Journey of Hope, which attempts to mitigate post-disaster psychological consequences through increasing psycho-educational knowledge and coping skills with children.

Methods Through a purposive random sampling process a selection of 134 youth between the ages of 8-10 were selected to participate in the study.  The sample included N=52 in the experimental group and N=48 in the comparison group.  The dependent variables included the Youth Coping Inventory (YCI), the Communities that Cares (CTC), and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).  A Hierarchal Linear Model (HLM) was used to evaluate the overall effects of the experimental and control group to understand the Time (pre vs. post-test) x Response (scores on quantitative measures) x Group (experimental vs.comparison).

Results. Statistically significant differences were found between the experimental and comparison groups on the YCI self-report measure, pro-social behavior sub-scale, and disciplinary referrals. No significant differences were, observed on the teacher report of overall emotional symptoms measured by the SDQ, however trended in the hypothesized direction.

Conclusions. The Journey of Hope intervention is a general model that can be universally implemented after a disaster. This study was the first step to evaluating the impact of the intervention and revealed promising findings on teacher report measures.  Future studies would help researchers further assess the impact of the intervention.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the background and origins of the Journey of Hope. Discuss learning objectives of the Journey of Hope intervention. Demonstrate the utility of a post-disaster school-based intervention. Explain outcomes of the quasi-experimental study.

Keyword(s): Disasters, School-Based Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a background in social work and public health and I conducted the evaluation of the Journey of Hope program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.