Extending the five essential elements of immediate and mid-term mass trauma intervention

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Hobfoll et al.’s five essential elements of immediate and mid-term mass trauma intervention provide a framework to guide the development and delivery of public health, group, and individual psychological interventions to address distress and promote adaptation following disaster. The essential elements – promotion of a sense of safety, calming, self and collective efficacy, connectedness, and hope – recognise the heterogenous nature of disasters, the varying community and individual responses, and the contextual factors requiring consideration in the disaster recovery phase. The essential elements have been extensively used in post-disaster intervention strategies.

Despite their acceptance, we propose that an occupational perspective should be used to extend the five essential elements beyond psychological interventions. An occupational perspective is a way of viewing the world that foregrounds the complex and interconnected occupations individuals and communities want and need to do. Occupations, the activities and routines people participate in, are a basic human right, a source of choice, control, balance and satisfaction, and a means of organising time, space and materials. They bring meaning to life through their contribution to identity and their ability to connect people, enable expression, engage with the environment, and sustain life.

As natural disasters significantly impact everyday life, an important aspect of disaster recovery is the re-establishment of familiar activities and routines. Participating in everyday occupations provides an equipoise to the unfamiliar occupations people need to do to assist with re-building their lives and communities post-disaster. Interventions aimed at effectively balancing the range of occupations people want and need to do post-disaster, delivered alongside psychological interventions, will ensure a sense of safety, calm, self and collective efficacy, connectedness, and hope, contributing to long-term adaptation and recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2023
EventAustralian Disaster Resilience Conference 2023 - Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 23 Aug 202324 Aug 2023


ConferenceAustralian Disaster Resilience Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleResilience reimagined
OtherIt has never been more important to reduce disaster risk and build resilience. With science telling us that disasters will become more frequent and severe due to climate change, the urgency of this work is clear. We must reimagine the future if we are to create the change we need.
The Australian Disaster Resilience Conference returns in 2023 with the latest ideas and innovations in disaster resilience and risk reduction on 23-24 August in Brisbane.

The conference features a program with two streams, offering a comprehensive conference experience that delegates can tailor according to their interests.

This year the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference program explores what is possible by coming together to reimagine resilience.
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