Robyn Tuohy

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2014
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
The influence of personal and socio-cultural contexts on older adults' preparedness for a disaster

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Older adults are especially vulnerable in a disaster and experience significant negative outcomes. There has been limited research about disaster preparedness from the perspective of independent older adults. Mrs Tuohy interviewed older adults in Wellington and Christchurch to explore their understandings of preparing for a disaster. She found that older adults considered disaster preparedness to be a personal responsibility. In addition, their levels of preparedness were influenced by health related needs and the availability of social support. Limited opportunities to develop and maintain preparedness increased their vulnerability to a disaster. Older adults also associated preparedness with managing age related decline, which was fundamental to managing their ability to remain independent in the community. These findings have implications for assisting older adults to prepare for a disaster, and suggest that a co-ordinated multidisciplinary planning and policy approach between health, welfare, and emergency management organisations would substantially benefit older adults in disasters.

Professor Christine Stephens
Dr Jocelyn Handy
Professor David Johnston