The effects of the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 on the quality of life of children and adolescents with disabilities.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
This study explored the effects of the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 on different areas of quality of life (QOL) for children and adolescents with disabilities. Using a survey developed from the Quality of Life Instrument for People with Developmental Disabilities – Short Version (QOL-PDD-SV) (Brown, Raphael & Renwick, 1997) and The World Health Organisation Quality of Life - (WHOQOL)-BREF, parents or caregivers were asked to identify what level of importance and satisfaction their child or adolescent placed on areas of QOL including physical health, psychological health - stress levels and coping ability, attachment to their neighbourhood, friends, family, leisure activities, community access and schooling. They were also asked to determine what level of impact the earthquakes had had on each area of their child or adolescent’s life and overall quality of life in the aftermath of the earthquakes. A total of 31 parents of 22 males and 9 females between the ages of 2.5 years to 19 years of age (mean age: 12.6 years) responded. The results were collated and analysis was run to measure for the effect of age, gender and geographical location. The results found that the earthquakes affected nearly every area of QOL for the children and adolescents. The biggest impact on the children’s psychological health and their ability to cope It was observed that younger children (<13) were more likely to record improved or lessened effects from the earthquakes in psychological health areas. However, the areas of social belonging and friendships were the least affected by the earthquakes. Female children were more likely to indicate higher scores for social belonging after the earthquakes. Many parents observed that their children developed improved coping skills over the earthquake period. The findings in this study offer a better understanding of how earthquakes can affect the quality of life children and adolescents with disabilities.