Reconceptualising and supporting disaster recovery as growth: informed by people affected by the Black Saturday bushfires

A photo of the research team.

After the Black Saturday bushfires, psychosocial support was provided to people in geographically affected communities. Localised services focused  on supporting those experiencing post traumatic stress and other adjustment difficulties, reflecting current theories of adaption post trauma.

This project addresses two major inequities in psychosocial support for disaster-impacted people arising from this current theorisation. These inequities arise as a result of (1) pathogenic definitions of recovery, which neglect post traumatic growth experiences; and (2) geographic discrimination, which creates subsequent marginalisation from both services and research. From interviews, personal and professional experiences of the barriers and enablers of post traumatic growth will be documented.

More information about post-traumatic growth can be found on the research team's website,


Louise Harms [Social Work, Faculty of Medicine, Dental and Health Sciences, UoM]

David Rose [Social Work, Faculty of Medicine, Dental and Health Sciences, UoM]

Robyn Woodward-Kron [Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dental and Health Sciences, UoM]

Jenny Waycott [Department of Communication and Information Systems, Melbourne School of Engineering, UoM]

Barb Bolt [School of Art, Faculty of the VCA and MCM, UoM]

Rhonda Abotomey [Social Work, Faculty of Medicine, Dental and Health Sciences, UoM]

Research outputs


Black Saturday bushfire survivor uses creativity to aid post-traumatic growthABC, Tuesday 1 December 2015

Surprised by personal growth, Voice, Monday 10 February 2014

Research Program

Disability and mental health