Disaster Risk Perception Among Native Hawaiians: A Photovoice Feasibility Study

Monday, 30 October 2017

Morgan Aiwohi Torris-Hedlund, MPA, MS
School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA

Purpose: The purpose of this feasibility study is to determine if Photovoice is an appropriate method for evaluating risk perception for natural disasters in Native Hawaiian communities.

Methods: Photovoice (PV) is recognized for its capacity to give voice to the concerns of marginalized communities. Since its inception in the early 1990's its been used in a number of settings to give community members an opportunity to speak their concerns to policy makers in an effort to build empowerment and make community improvements (Jones, Ingham, Cram, Dean, & Davies, 2013; Wang, & Burris, 1997). PV is rooted in community based participatory research and is recognized for its grounding in Participatory Action Research (Crabtree, & Braun, 2015; Jones, Ingham, Cram, Dean, & Davies, 2013). It differs from photo elicitation or visual anthropology for two reasons, first, the images come entirely from the community as part of a process to answer questions, second, the final phase of PV project seeks to create community directed change by sharing the photos with stakeholders (Wang, & Burris, 1997).

The investigators hope to learn if PV is an acceptable research platform for understanding community-based risk perception among Native Hawaiians. The investigators believe PV provides an opportunity to share perspectives not captured by other qualitative methods such as interviews or surveys. Photovoice is a participatory qualitative method that asks participants to share photos and narratives based on the photos they take to explain issues within their community (Wang, & Burris, 1997). Despite its use in an array of settings to examine a multitude of issues there has been minimal use of PV to examine issues related to perception of risk (Crabtree, & Braun, 2015).

Disaster preparedness is a growing global concern. The number of people at risk increases annually and threats are becoming consistently routine (Burns, & Slovic, 2012). Research demonstrates prepared communities are more resilient to crisis events (Crabtree, & Braun, 2015). Risk perception is a crucial precursor to preparation (Paton, 2003). Determining perception of risk helps in understanding a community's knowledge of their vulnerability (Buchecker , et al., 2013; Gierlach, Belsher, & Beutler, 2010).

This project will use the PV method to assess community perception of risk. Little is known about the differences in risk perception between varied ethnic groups. Understanding how Native Hawaiians perceive risk for disasters in their communities will help communities prepare for disasters and mitigate identifiable risks.

Results: To be determined.

Conclusion: To be determined.