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Psychologists' skills for both crisis intervention and prevention of post-traumatic stress in response to natural disasters

Grant number: 12/14826-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2012
Effective date (End): September 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Psychological Treatment and Prevention
Principal Investigator:Maria de Jesus Dutra dos Reis
Grantee:Henrique Do Nascimento Ricardo
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Disaster can be defined as the result of adverse events, natural or manmade, on a vulnerable ecosystem, provoking damage to human beings, material and environmental prejudice, and usually leading to economic and social losses. The guidelines that ruled the management in the situations of disasters are normalized, in Brazil, by the Política Nacional de Defesa Civil (PNDC); the Promotion of Mental Health is a directive to be attained. In the Disaster' scenario is frequently observed an occurrence of mental disorders associated with experiences of trauma, such as depression, generalized anxiety, acute stress, posttraumatic stress, among others. International agencies, that organized the logistic of actions for intervention during disasters, have described and legislated on the participation of the psychologist, including its role in the logistics of disaster response. However, the inclusion of psychologists in the context of emergencies and disasters is relatively recent in the country; therefore, there is little clarity about what should be the role of this professional in the context of the intervention and how qualified is to work in disasters contexts. The present study will aim to (1) Identify the main functions and skills expected for the psychologist in the logistics organized by staff management in different municipalities of São Paulo State; (2) Describe and identify the formation and current activities during Response of psychologists whose worked during disaster intervention, over the past five years; (3) Identify skills and competences of importance to the performance of the psychologist in the Response's intervention; and, (4) assessing the mastery self-assigned for each of them. Particularly should be considered the skills of crisis intervention, prevention, and identification of risk in mental health and, in particular, post-traumatic stress. It will be invited to participate in the study both coordinators of municipal civil defense and the psychologist crowed in the Secretarias de Saúde e Assistência Social (responsible for social welfare and mental health services) of cities in the state of São Paulo. The selection of the participating municipalities will be considered by the occurrence of two or more disasters, within the last five years, which officially redistricted the record of at least 50 homeless people. It will be implemented a semi-structured interview for both the characterization of the participants and their descriptions of the actions attributed to them during the disaster. In addition, it will be applied an Inventory containing a list of 36 skills identified as attributions of the psychologist in the performance of the Response, in documents of international agencies. Psychologists should assess in the inventory: (1) the degree of importance of each skill for the effectiveness of its actions during Response and (2) the degree of dominance of each skill indicated. The results will be analyzed trying to identify at least two sets of information: (1) a qualitative analysis will examine the current role of the psychologist during the response and their previous training for its role for both crisis intervention and PTSD; and, (2) a quantitative analysis will try to identify the importance of all skills for the performance during the Response and the mastery self-attributed for the professional for each of them. It will be discussing the relationship of these results with international literature, trying to identify the relevant skills for the psychologist, establish evidence for planning the training of this professional for work in the disaster's Response. (AU)

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