Enhancing Coping and Supporting Protective Factors After a Disaster: Findings From a Quasi-Experimental Study

Tara Powell, Sanna J. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: This article presents the Journey of Hope (JoH), a school-based intervention for children who have experienced a collective trauma such as a natural disaster. Through the use of group work, the JoH focuses on building coping skills and enhancing protective factors to help children recover. Method: This quasi-experimental research included 102 children impacted by tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2011. Results: Through an hierarchical linear model analysis with (n = 48) from the JoH group and (n = 54) from a wait-list control group, the outcomes indicate that after participation in the JoH youth had increased coping skills, F(100) = 5.270, p <.05, and prosocial behaviors, F(95) = 4.286, p <.05. This is the first quasi-experimental design to be conducted on the JoH; findings provide preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of this broad-based postdisaster intervention. Conclusion: Future replication studies with larger samples in other societies impacted by a natural disaster are needed to further evaluate the JoH’s impact in enhancing coping and building resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-549
Number of pages11
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016



  • children
  • coping
  • disaster
  • protective
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)

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