The Ecological Engagement Method and Its Application on the Field of Disaster, Crisis, and Trauma Psychology

  • Fernanda Menna Barreto Krum
  • Denise Ruschel Bandeira


The goal of this chapter is to focus on the use of the Ecological Engagement methodology—based on Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Human Development—as part of a qualitative research with a community affected by a tornado in Southern Brazil. This methodology necessitated conducting research within the context for a consistent period of time to comprehend the complexity of the issue. In addition to facilitating focus groups with individuals affected by the disaster, the study included several field visits, interviews with emergency response professionals and members of the community, and a field diary. The primary goal was to investigate the individuals’ coping strategies in the face of the event guided by the questions: “How did you experience the disaster?” and “What did you do to face it?” The data was treated through content analysis, systematically organized in units and categories connected with the main questions. The entire process demonstrated the effectiveness of the Ecological Engagement methodology through gradually increasing involvement, which became more complex as the researcher and participants engaged in proposed activities. The exchange of reflections and the construction of a collective discourse provided space for participants to address some of their traumas and for meaning to emerge from their experiences.


Coping strategies Disaster psychology Focus group 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernanda Menna Barreto Krum
    • 1
  • Denise Ruschel Bandeira
    • 2
  1. 1.International Mental Health ConsultantMissoulaUSA
  2. 2.Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

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