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Correlates of Hazard Education Programs for Youth

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Virtually no research has examined the hypothesized benefits of hazard education programs for youth in helping to increase community resilience. This exploratory study examined the role of these programs in helping to increase child and family resilience to a range of future hazards. Various aspects of hazards programs were examined in relation to a wide range of child- and parent-reported hazard adjustments in a sample of 560 schoolchildren. Additional factors assessed included childrens’ risk perceptions, knowledge of response-related protective activities, and hazard-related emotional factors. Overall, the results supported the role of hazards education programs in increasing hazard adjustments in the home. The findings also supported various aspects of education program involvement as being related to more realistic risk perceptions, increased knowledge, and increased interaction with caregivers. Analyses identified the following features of these programs as being particularly important: provision of specific knowledge (e.g., an emergency management perspective); multiple program involvement over time; and, importantly, promotion of increased interaction between children and parents. Overall, findings supported the idea that hazards education programs for youth provide one gateway through which communities can increase their resilience to the effects of a major hazardous event. Findings also provided an initial foundation for further research in this emerging area.

Keywords: Hazards education programs; children and families; hazard adjustment; interactive models; risk perception

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand., 2: Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Warreikei, New Zealand.

Publication date: December 1, 2001


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