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Title:The relationships between leisure experiences and psychological recovery from disaster: a case study of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami
Author(s):Kono, Shintaro
Advisor(s):Shinew, Kimberly J.
Department / Program:Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Discipline:Recreation, Sport, and Tourism
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami
Psychological recovery
Stress coping
Abstract:The world has witnessed the rapid increase of natural disaster occurrences toward to the beginning of the 21st century according to the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance/Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. While the leisure literature has suggested that leisure can help people to transcend negative life events such as traumatic injury (e.g., Kleiber, Hutchinson, & Williams, 2002), relationships between leisure and disaster experiences have been significantly underexplored. Therefore, in this study, I attempt to fill up this gap in the literature through a case study of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which occurred on March 11th, 2011. In June of 2012, I had conducted public observation as a disaster volunteer for approximately one month. Subsequently, 21 in-depth interviews were conducted mainly over the phone. Out of the 21 interviews, 16 were with disaster survivors, and five were with local disaster volunteers. Analyzing their narratives, there emerged two major themes from their disaster experiences: negative psychological impacts of the disaster and roles of leisure experiences in their psychological recovery process from the disaster. Among the survivors, the disaster has negatively influenced their mental health both directly through traumatic experiences and post- disaster stressors and indirectly through exacerbating leisure constraints. On the other hand, leisure has played three distinct roles in their post-disaster psychological recovery process: leisure stress coping, leisure symbolic coping, and leisure and resilience. Moreover, through the narrative analysis, I found that there is a core meaning of leisure that underlies all the three key functions of leisure, which is, namely, leisure as a context for social interaction and enjoyable experience. It is suggested that it is important to examine positive psychological effects of leisure from a more comprehensive conceptual framework. Practically, a number of suggestions for practitioners, such as counselors, social workers, and volunteers, can be drawn from this study. This study indicates an urgent need to collaborate with researchers at the international worlds from various disciplines and accumulate the literature on leisure and disaster immediately.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Shintaro Kono
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12

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