University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Occupational Disruption and Natural Disaster: Finding a ‘New Normal’ in a Changed Context

Sima, L., Thomas, Yvonne ORCID: and Lowrie, D. (2017) Occupational Disruption and Natural Disaster: Finding a ‘New Normal’ in a Changed Context. Journal of Occupational Science, 24 (2). pp. 128-139. ISSN 1442-7591 Online: 2158-1576

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Individuals affected by natural disasters can undergo critical life changes throughout the recovery process. With a forecast increase in frequency and impact of natural disasters, it is important to consider the occupational recovery process that individuals experience post-disaster. This qualitative descriptive study explored the experience of occupational disruption and occupational recovery of individuals after Cyclone Yasi struck a small, regional town in Northern Queensland, Australia. Nine semi-structured interviews from long-term residents of the town affected by Cyclone Yasi were conducted 2 years after the event. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and independently coded using thematic analysis by three researchers. Five interrelated themes were identified: Recovery occupations; Interruption to leisure and productive occupations; Reconstruction: A second disaster; Occupational liminality and A new normal. These themes point to a phased process of occupational recovery through which disaster survivors encounter numerous personal and contextual barriers, encumbering their return to re-engagement in meaningful occupational routines. The findings from this research offer insights into the support needs of both individuals and communities as they endeavour to overcome challenges associated with the recovery process.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: natural disaster, occupation disruption, occupational recovery, occupation adaptation,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
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Depositing User: Yvonne Thomas
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2017 11:29
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:16

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