2004 Tsunami and
The 2004 Tsunami and University Students Academic Achievement
Teuku Tahlil, BSN
Nursing Science Program,
Ches Jones, PhD
Program of Health Science,
This study was intended to assess a correlation between tsunami experiences and academic achievement among college university students. Data were collected by a self-report questionnaire from two nursing schools in one of the most affected areas by the 2004 tsunami. Results indicated that the students mean GPA and absence from school were not statistically correlated with their tsunami experiences (p >.05). Although the difference between the mean GPAs were not statistically significant, the mean GPAs before the tsunami were higher than after the tsunami. Therefore, future research about this tendency should be considered.
The 2004 Tsunami and University Students Academic Achievement
The tsunami on December 26, 2004 seriously hit the Province of Aceh (NAD),
Indonesia: killed and displaced hundred thousands of people and destroyed most
part of Aceh coastal areas, infrastructures, and public facilities. Hence, people
in the affected regions will likely to suffer from a range of short-term and
long-term effects and to spend years wrestling with their burden following the
The aim of this study was to examine possible effects of the 2004 tsunami on college students in the province. Particularly, this study assessed the association between the students 2004 tsunami experiences and their universitys academic achievement. It is expected that results of this study would help us to better understand the impact of the traumatic experience on college students behaviors. Specifically, this finding could be beneficial for decision makers in the affected areas to speed up the reconstruction and the rehabilitation works of the people in the affected regions.
One hundred college students (male = 25, female = 75) participated in this survey, 56 (male = 15, female = 41) and 44 (male = 10, female = 34) of whom were directly exposed and not exposed to the 2004 tsunami. Among the respondents, 36 enrolled in schools in 2003, nine in 2002, seven and four in 2001 and before 2000, respectively. The students (one school = 75, another one = 15) were conveniently recruited for this study from two nursing schools in the most affected area by the 2004 tsunami in the northwestern part of Indonesia. Seventy two percent of the respondents were aged between 21 to 23 years, 6% and 22% aged between 18-20 years and 24-26 years, respectively. About 57% of the respondents lived with both of their parents, 59% stayed in their parents permanent house and a few (4%) still lived in barrack or tend.
Data for this cross-sectional survey were elicited by a 13-item questionnaire. Participants were asked about their demographic data, the 2004 tsunami experiences, and academic achievement. For the demographic data section, a structured response item was offered to respondents to choose. Students experiences with the natural disaster were elicited with yes or no and some with a rating scale-response. Conversely, for academic achievement sub-variable, the students were asked to score their absence from school based on a five point Likert-type rating scale and to write their grade point of average (GPA) in the answer sheet. The questionnaire was developed in English and then translated into Indonesian language to be used throughout the survey. A review and an approval from related experts were gained to make sure that the instrument was able to measure what it purports to measure.
The study was approved by the universitys Institutional Review Board (IRB) and was supported by the principal of the nursing schools. Survey was administered in the usual students class rooms on July 2007 by the help of the lecturers from the selected schools. Participants participation were voluntary and no names or other identities were collected. Data analysis was completed by the SPSS 13.0 for Windows version using a descriptive and analytic statistics.
Of the 100 respondents, 98% reported that they had felt fear during the 2004 tsunami, 84% reported the loss of their family members or significant others, and 91% did not get physically injured in the disaster. The data also revealed that 63% of the participants lost personal property and only 48 % reported that their houses were not damaged.
A Spearman correlation test indicated that there was no correlation between the students lose of family member(s) or significant person(s) in the 2004 tsunami and their absence from school, r = -.004, p = .97; and no correlation between house damaged and absence from school, r = -.011, p = .91. However, the data showed that there were some correlations between the tsunami experienced and absence from school, r = -.10, p = .31; some correlation between physical injury and absence from schools, r = .17, p = .09; some correlation between fear and absence from school, r = .13, p = .19; and some correlation between lose of personal property and absence from school, r = -.065, p = .40. All the correlations were very weak and not statistically significant (p >.05). Similarly, there was no correlation between the tsunami experienced and GPA after the disaster among the students, r = .016, p = .87; no correlation between physical injury and GPA after the tsunami, r = -.042, p = .68; and no correlation between lose of family member(s) or significant person(s) and GPA after the tsunami, r = -.001, p = .99. Conversely, the findings showed that there were some correlations between the students feeling during the 2004 tsunami and their GPA after the disaster, r = -.07, p = .49; some correlations between house damaged and GPA after the 2004 tsunami, r = .15, p = .14; some correlation between lose of personal property and GPA after the tsunami, r = .10, p = .35. Again, all the correlations were very weak and not statistically significant (p >.05).
A Paired-Sample t-test analysis indicated that the difference between means GPA before the 2004 tsunami and those obtained after the disaster was not statistically significant, t (100) = 1.14, p = .26. The finding indicated that the means score for the students GPA before the tsunami was not significantly greater than the means score obtained after the disaster (before the tsunami, M = 2.56, SD = .41; after the tsunami, M = 2.08, SD = .08). The observed difference between the means was .48, and the 95% confidence interval for the difference between means extended from -.36 to 1.31. The effect size was computed as d = .013. This analysis indicated that there was a very weak correlation exists between these conditions (r = .03, p = .74).
Further analysis, using an Independent-Sample t-test, showed that the difference between the mean GPA after the 2004 tsunami of the males and females students was not significantly different, t (98) = -1.65, p = .35. The means score for the females GPA after the disaster was not significantly higher than males (for females, M = 2.16, SD = .82; for males, M = 1.86, SD = .66). The observed difference between the mean was -.3, and the 95% confidence interval for the difference between means extended from -.65 to .06. Levenes test for Equality of variances indicated variances for males and females did not differ significantly from each other (p = .35). This study also indicated that that the mean GPA of the survivors and non-survivors of the 2004 tsunami was not significantly different, t (98) = .08, p = .10. The mean scores for the survivors were not significantly higher than those of the non-survivors (for survivors, M = 2.09, SD = .75; for non-survivors, M = 2.08, SD = .84). The observed difference between the mean was .01, and the 95% confidence interval for the difference between means extended from -.30 to .33. Levenes test for Equality of variances indicated variances for males and females did not differ significantly from each other (p = .68).
Moreover, a one-way ANOVA analysis indicated that there was no differences between the students house damage with respect to their academic achievement (GPA), F (3, 95) = 1.42, p = .242. Similarly, this study also failed to show a significant consequence of the house damage and the loss of properties on the students GPA. A two-way ANOVA test revealed that there was no interaction effects between the loss of properties and house damage with respect to the students GPA, F (2, 92) = .466, p = .629.
Results of this study tell us that the youth are among individuals at high risk for a tsunami victim. Potential effects of the tsunami on the youth population were varied. The participants' experiences with the tsunami were not statistically correlated to their absence from school nor with their grade point average (GPA). Furthermore, this study indicated that the respondents GPA before the disaster and after the disaster was not significantly different (p > .05). However, since this study indicated that the mean GPA of the students before the tsunami were higher than after the tsunami, future research about this tendency should be conducted to further understand this phenomena.
Massey University, New Zealand
May 21, 2008