The Experience and Coping Behaviors of the Traumatic Responses One Year After the “August-Eighth Flood” Disaster

Monday, 30 July 2012

Fan-Ko Sun, RN, PhD
Department of Nursing, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Chih-Hui Chen, RN
Department of Nursing, Chi-Shan Hospital, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Chi Mei Ting, RN
Department of Nursing, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Hui-Man Huang, PhD
Department of nursing, Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: Learners will get knowledge in understanding the experiences of the people who suffered the “August-eighth Flood” Disaster after one year and their coping behaviors.

Learning Objective 2: Learners will get the ability to take care of people who are suffering a post-traumatic stress disorder from a flooding experience.

Purpose: The aim of this study is to investigate the post-traumatic response and coping behaviors of victims a year after the “August Eighth Flood” (8/8 Flood) disaster.

Methods: A phenomenological method with purposive sampling was used. Ten selected subjects who are all “8/8 Flood” victims were interviewed. The victims were suffering from physical, psychological and financial damage. The data was collected by using semi-structured guide, deep interview and tape-recordings from December 2010 until March 2011. The interview data was subsequently analyzed using Colaizzi’s seven-stepped phenomenological method.

Results: The results reveal that after experiencing calamity, the subjects tended to exhibit three common themes. The first theme dealt with the residue of traumatic responses that occurred after the flood, such as the frightening concept that more floods would follow, experiencing repeated flooding, being indifferent in responses, and living on alert. The second theme pertains to insecurity in daily life due to change of surroundings, such as suffering from anxiety and a heavy sense of loss. The third theme discusses the conformity in coping behaviors of the subjects, such as shifting attention from the disaster, turning to a pluralistic support system, having an optimistic outlook on life, and living in the moment.

Conclusion: The data indicate that “8/8 Flood” victims still retain traumatic responses and lack a sense of security one year after the “August-eighth Flood” disaster. Therefore, the government in Taiwan and health care professionals need to continually help them in order to reduce their traumatic responses and let them feel a sense of security.