Conceptualising Post-Disaster Recovery: Incorporating Grief Experiences

Louise Harms, Karen Block, Hugh Gallagher, Lisa Gibbs, Richard Bryant, Dean Lusher, John Richardson, Colin MacDougall, Elyse Baker, Vikki Sinnott, Greg Ireton, David Forbes, Connie kellett, Elizabeth Waters

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    In the disaster literature, psycho-social recovery is conceptualised typically as the alleviation of traumatic stress, with the alleviation of disaster-related grief as a less prominent part of this. Yet, incorporating grief understandings into recovery conceptualisations post disaster is important. This paper explores these conceptualisations by analysing participants' bereavement experiences following the Black Saturday bushfires. It draws on data from Beyond Bushfires, a mixed-methods study (n = 1,016) in which survey and interview data relating to individual loss and recovery experiences were examined. The loss through death of friends and community members was found to be predictive of poorer mental health outcomes, although prolonged grief outcomes were rare. The sense of relationships as being 'like family' was identified by interviewees as an important dimension of their particular communities, as was coping with multiple deaths and the hierarchy of grief that emerged, and the stress of notifying others of these deaths. The implications of these impacts are considered for social work research and practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)i170-i187
    Number of pages18
    JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
    Issue numberS1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


    • community
    • death
    • disaster
    • family
    • Grief
    • trauma


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