August 16, 2017

Volume 4 Number 1 (Spring 2014)

 

EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION

Richard W. Schwester, Ph.D.

 

Peer-Reviewed Scholarship


POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS SYMPTOMS AFTER THE 2007 SHOOTINGS AT VIRGINIA TECH: FORM AND FUNCTION OF COMMUNICATION ABOUT THE EVENTS

Angela Scarpa, Ph.D., Steven D. Sheetz, Ph.D., Laura C. Wilson, Ph.D., Jonathan C. Waldron, Michelle A. Patriquin, Ph.D., and Russell T. Jones, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
 
Due to advances in technology, and the ever-changing ways in which people are communicating

with one another, the role of electronic media and technology following traumatic events is a growing area of interest. The current study examined the form and function of communication following the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech in a sample of 519 Virginia Tech students, alumni, and staff/faculty (65% female; 90.4% Caucasian). Results indicated that electronic forms of communication were used most frequently in the 24 hours following the shootings. The form of communication (i.e., cell phones, messaging, and face-to-face communication) was not related to posttraumatic stress (PSS) reactions; however, the function of communication (i.e., conveyance or convergence) did differentially relate to reports of subsequent PSS. Specifically, communication used for conveyance (i.e., sharing facts) functions was positively related to PSS, whereas convergence (i.e., sharing thoughts and feelings) was unrelated to PSS. The findings are discussed in the context of cognitive models of posttraumatic stress disorder and implications for the findings are offered.

Keywords: PTSD, Trauma, critical incidents

 

 

THE AFTERMATH OF THE SHOOTINGS AT VIRGINIA TECH: A CHRONOLOGY OF THE FIRST NINE MONTHS

Russell T. Jones, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
 

This paper presents a chronology of a number of the remarkable efforts made by the Virginia Tech community during the initial nine months following the shootings. Having been taught the importance of “observation” and “data collection” during my early years of training, I made the decision to record initial steps taken by the university. In my opinion, many of these initial steps led to an extraordinary level of safety and stability to those impacted by the shootings. While many additional steps may have been taken as documented in the Virginia Tech Review Panel (2007), it is clear that a great deal of expertise, care, and concern was exhibited.

Keywords: crisis management, critical incident, organizational resilience

 

 

COLLABORATIVE PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR STRENGTHENING LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Dorothy Norris-Tirrell, Ph.D. and Joy Clay, Ph.D.

Post September 11 and the shift to a broader focus on Homeland Security, public officials are realizing that even wider community education and meaningful collaboration with nongovernmental actors, as well as with citizens, is critical to effective prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery processes. The administrative and leadership challenge is in creating a new governance system, one that builds on existing patterns of collaboration and relationships while adding new public and private partners. This paper uses Tennessee’s District 11 Homeland Security strategic planning process as a case study to gauge efficaciousness of collaborative planning processes as a tool in the creation of local capacity for emergency management.

Keywords: crisis management, critical incident,

 

 

RESISTANCE TO CHANGE: UNDERSTANDING WHY DISASTER RESPONSE AND RECOVERY INSTITUTIONS ARE SET IN THEIR WAYS

Jason D. Rivera, MPA

Recently, disaster researchers have increasingly made recommendations to emergency management actors responsible for disaster preparedness to foster environments at the local and regional levels that are more amenable to the development of disasters cultures in order to reduce communities’ vulnerability. Although most authors recognize the importance of historical circumstances in the development of cultural values and norms that influence local disaster management organizations and institutions, they tend to exclude the effect that path dependent processes play in allowing changes to occur. Through a framework of path dependence and positive feedback theory, this paper will discuss the reasons why once a community begins to make formal policy decisions that integrate cultural attitudes in reference to disasters into their governmental structures, they tend to become relatively static overtime even in the face of service delivery failures. Recommendations are proposed in the conclusion of this paper that seek to overcome negative issues related to path dependence in disaster response and recovery organizations and institutions in order to foster an environment more conducive to effective emergency management service provision.

Keywords: crisis management, critical incident