Risk Analysis

Hazards Education for Youth: A Quasi‐Experimental Investigation

Journal Article

No experimental research has examined the hypothesized benefits of hazards education programs for youth in helping to increase community resilience. This preliminary study followed on from correlational studies and examined the role these programs play in helping increase child and family problem‐ and emotion‐focused coping. Children (n= 219) were randomly assigned, based on classroom, to a condition. The “usual condition” consisted of a reading and discussion program. The “emergency management” condition consisted of the usual condition combined with emergency‐management‐focused teaching and increased interaction between youth and home. Factors assessed included both problem‐ and emotion‐focused factors: knowledge of mitigation and emergency response activities, family and home hazard adjustments, hazard‐related fears, emotion‐focused coping ability, and perceptions of parents' hazard‐related fears. Overall, the results supported the role for hazards education programs in increasing resilience in youth and at home. In particular, large intervention produced effect sizes were seen for both child‐ and parent‐reported hazard adjustments. Significant interactions provided additional support for the role of an emergency management focus in the problem‐focused areas of (1) both child‐ and parent‐reported hazard adjustments and (2) increased hazards‐based knowledge in the youth. These initial findings provide a continuing foundation for further research in this emerging area. Discussion considers the role for such programs in the future.

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