Enhancing coping and supporting protective factors after a disaster: Findings from a quasi-experimental study.


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.