Coping Strategies of Older Adults Survivors Following a Disaster: Disaster-Related Resilience to Climate Change Adaptation

  • Joseph U. AlmazanEmail author
  • Jonas Preposi Cruz
  • Majed Sulaiman Alamri
  • Abdulrhman Saad B. Albougami
  • Jazi Shaydied Monahi Alotaibi
  • Adelina M. Santos


Understanding resilience involved in the capability of older adult disaster survivors in coping and dealing with one natural disaster to another has been the focal point of several studies. However, there has been little discussion on older adult survivors’ coping strategies following a disaster. This qualitative study explored the coping strategies using a cross-case analysis to surpass disaster experiences. A purposive sample of 26 older adults’ survivors who had experienced typhoon, without experience, with family, and without family were interviewed using a focus group discussion. Four themes were generated: ‘Understanding one’s culture generates resilience that can turn huge impact in coping with disaster’,Holding on to their faith by praying or acting practically during adversities still promotes adaptation’,Gaining previous experiences is crucial to the positive outcome’,Getting social support or not promotes adaptation’. These concepts are connected with each other, and the relationship of these factors facilitates the rebuilding of the older adults’ lives. These findings provide valuable insights for Local Government Units and healthcare professionals in supporting and promoting positive mindset activities, cultural identity, social network, and spiritual care among older adult survivors.


Culture Disaster resilience Disaster risk Social support Older adults 



Special thanks to the village leaders in Tacloban, Leyte, and older adults who took part in the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All Authors declares no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual respondents included in the study.

Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


  1. Almazan, J., Cruz, J., Alamri, M., Alotaibi, J., Albougami, A., Gravoso, R., … Ghose Bishwajit, G. (2018). Predicting patterns of disaster-related resiliency among older adult Typhoon Haiyan survivors. Geriatric Nursing.Google Scholar
  2. Alcayna, T., Bollettino, V., Dy, P., & Vinck, P. (2016). Resilience and disaster trends in the Philippines: opportunities for national and local capacity building. PLoS Currents, 8.Google Scholar
  3. Ballesteros, M., & Domingo S. (2015). Building Philippine SMEs resilience to natural disasters Philippine institute for development studies. Discussion Paper Series No. 2015-20 (Revised).Google Scholar
  4. Baudot, C. (2016). The right move: Ensuring durable relocation after typhoon Haiyan’, 2014. OXFAM CASE STUDY Relief Web. Accessed April 30, 2016.
  5. Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: study design and implementation for novice researchers the qualitative report. 13:544–559. Retrieved from
  6. Becker, J., Paton, D., Johnston, D., Ronan, K., & McClure, J. (2017). The role of prior experience in informing and motivating earthquake preparedness. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 22, 179–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Binder, S. B., Baker, C. K., Mayer, J., & O’ Donnell, C. R. (2014). Resilience and recovery in American Samoa: a case study of the 2009 South Pacific tsunami. Journal of Community Psychology, 42, 799–822. Scholar
  8. Cassell, C, & Symon, G. (1994). Qualitative methods in organizational research, a practical guide. In Catherine Cassell & Gillian Symon (Eds.), London: Sage. pp. 1–13.Google Scholar
  9. Cherniack, E. P. (2008). The impact of natural disasters on the elderly. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, 3(3), 133–139.Google Scholar
  10. Creswell, J.W. (1995). Qualitative inquiry and research design choosing among five traditions. Sage Publication. Retrieved from
  11. Dai, W., Chen, L., Tan, H., Wang, J., Lai, Z., Kaminga, A. C., & Liu, A. (2016). Association between social support and recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder after flood: a 13–14 year follow-up study in Hunan, China. BMC Public Health, 16, 194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dahlberga, C., Tind, J. B., Rajuc, E., & Tulsiania, S. (2015). Resilience in disaster research: three versions. Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems, 32, 44–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Docena, P. S. (2015). Adaptive coping, resilience, and absence of anxiety among displaced disaster survivors. Philippine Journal of Psychology, 48(2), 27–49.Google Scholar
  14. Esipisu, I. (2016). Traditional weather prediction incorporated into Kenyan forecasts. Thomson Reuters Foundation. 9 February 2016.
  15. Erin, P., & White, R. (2015). Exploring the impact of religious beliefs, leadership, and networks on response and recovery of disaster-affected populations: a case study from Indonesia. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 30, 193–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. European Commission’s Directorate (2017). China - Flood (China National Commission for Natural Disaster Reduction, CMA, Local Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 4 July 2017). Retrieved 44 July 2017 from
  17. Fu, Y., Chen, Y., Wang, J., Tang, X., He, J., & Jiao, M. (2013). Analysis of prevalence of PTSD and its influencing factors among college students after the Wenchuan earthquake. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric and Mental Health, 7, 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goroshit, S., & Eshel, Y. (2013). Demographic variables as antecedents of Israeli community and National Resilience. Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 631–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guba, E. G. (1981). Criteria for assessing the trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries. Educational Communication and Technology Journal., 29(2), 75–91.Google Scholar
  20. International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent (2014). World Disaster Report focus on culture and risk. Accessed 16 October 2014.
  21. Kamberelis, G., & Dimitriadis, G. (2005). Qualitative Inquiry. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  22. Kellens, W., Terpstra, T., & De Maeyer, P. (2013). Perception and communication of flood risks: A systematic review of empirical research. Risk Analysis, 33, 24–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Krueger, R. A., & Casey, M. A. (2009). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Lassi, S., & Mugnaini, D. (2015). Role of religion and spirituality on mental health and resilience. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience, 17(3), 661–663.Google Scholar
  25. Lavigne, F. (2008). People’s behavior in the face of volcanic hazards: Perspectives from Javanese communities, Indonesia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 172, 273–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nygaard, E., Hussain, A., Siqveland, J., & Heir, T. (2016). General self-efficacy and posttraumatic stress after a natural disaster: a longitudinal study. BMC Psychology, 4, 15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Magesa, L. (2015). African spirituality and the environment: some principles, theses, and orientations. Hekima Review, 53, 119–128.Google Scholar
  28. Martinez-Alier, J. (2009). Social metabolism, ecological distribution conflicts, and languages of valuation. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 20(1), 58–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morse, J. M.,& Field, P. A. (1996). Nursing research: the application of qualitative approaches. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Mungcal I. (2011). International NGOs Appeal for Emergency Aid for Drought-hit East Africa. The development Newswire. Retrieved from Accessed 6 July 2016.
  31. Ostadtaghizadeh, A., Ardalan, A., Paton, D., Khankeh, H., & Jabbari, H. (2016). Community disaster resilience: a qualitative study on Iranian concepts and indicators. Research Letter Natural Hazards, 83, 1843–1861.Google Scholar
  32. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Phelps, C., Heidl, R., & Wadhwa, A. (2012). Knowledge, networks, and knowledge networks: a review and research agenda. Journal of Management, 38, 1115–1166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Polusny, M., Kumpula, M., Meis, L., Erbes, C., Arbisi, P., Murdoch, M. P., Forbes, K., & Johnson, A. (2014). Gender differences in the effects of deployment-related stressors and pre-deployment risk factors on the development of PTSD symptoms in National Guard Soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 49, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rajeev, M. M. (2016). Post disaster issues and challenges of elderly populations in India: experiences from natural disasters. Social Science, 2(3), 1–4.Google Scholar
  36. Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  37. Save the Children, Humanitarian Coalition (2016). Hurricane Matthew Haiti - October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016 from
  38. Shenton, A. K. (2004). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Education for Information, 22(2), 63–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tafere, M. (2013). Towards building a culture of disaster resilience at an early age. Contextual integration of disaster risk reduction in the Ethiopian primary education curricula. Retrieved from WVI’s Resilience CoP Website: www.wvcentral org/community/resilienceGoogle Scholar
  40. Tsuno, K., Oshima, K., Kubota, K., & Kawakami, N. (2014). Personal resilience and post-traumatic stress symptoms of local government employees: six months after the 2011 magnitude 9.0 East Japan earthquake. Sangyō Eiseigaku Zasshi, 56, 245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vernberg, E. M., Hambrick, E. P., Cho, B., & Hendrickson, M. L. (2016). Positive psychology and disaster mental health: strategies for working with children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 72, 1333–1347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Warchal, J. R., & Graham, L. B. (2011). Promoting positive adaptation in adult survivors of natural disasters. Adult Span Journal, 10, 34–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Warner, J., & Engel, K. (2014). Disaster culture matters. Ambiente & Sociedade, 17(4), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wisner, B., Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., & Davis, I. (2004). At risk: Natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Yamagata, A. (2016). Urban resilience assessment: multiple dimensions, criteria, and indicators. Urban resilience part of the series. Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications, 259–276.Google Scholar
  46. Zaffina, S., Camisa, V., Monducci, E., Vinci, M. R., Vicari, S., & Bergamaschi, A. (2014). A PTSD prevalence and associated risk factors after a fire disaster that broke out in a paediatric hospital: a cross-sectional study. La Medicina del Lavoro, 105, 163–173.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nursing, College of Applied Medical SciencesMajmaah UniversityMajmaahSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.College of Applied Medical SciencesShaqra UniversityShaqraSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.College of Applied Medical SciencesMajmaah UniversityMajmaahSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations