The role of acknowledgment in the psychosocial recovery of young adults in disaster events

Rouve Jan Forbes, Julie Willems, Margaret Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In 2009, 4 major bushfires destroyed vast areas of Gippsland in eastern Victoria including the areas around Delburn, Bunyip, Churchill and Wilsons Promontory. These are collectively known as the 2009 Gippsland bushfires. Research was conducted to investigate the psychosocial recovery of young adults in these areas. Twenty young adults participated in the study and, while these young adults are not an homogenous group, commonalities were identified across their stories. Asked what would have helped their recovery, the participants all said that acknowledgment of their personal and age-specific needs was the single most important factor that enabled or impeded recovery. This paper describes some of their stories. The paper looks at how participants viewed acknowledgment and the effects of its absence on their psychosocial recovery and how they felt unacknowledged in local recovery supports. The paper reports on the findings of this research and suggests an approach for management and longer-term recovery support that is inclusive of the specific needs of young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Emergency Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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