School of Psychological Science

Postgraduate Profiles


Jessica Stacey

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 1453


Start date

Feb 2011

Submission date

Feb 2015


Jessica Stacey


Bushfire Preparedness: The Development and Validation of a Psychological Preparedness Scale


Bushfires are complex and uncontrollable events that can elicit a negative emotional response (e.g. Stress, fear and anxiety). While such emotions are normal in response to perceived threat, an inability to manage stress can lead to a number of negative outcomes (Driskell & Johnston, 1998). These negative outcomes may include: cognitive disruption (e.g. Disorientation and problems with attention and memory), poor decision making and judgement, maladaptive behaviours (e.g. Denial and avoidance), and negative psychological outcomes post-disaster (e.g. Post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety). Thus to help cope with a bushfire people need to be psychologically prepared. Psychological preparedness is the ability to manage and cope with one’s emotional response during a bushfire, with the purpose of bettering one’s cognitive and behavioural response (Australian Psychological Society, 2009).

A review of the literature has identified that there is currently no accepted or well validated measure of psychological preparedness for a bushfire. Therefore, this research aims to draw from proactive and resource-based theories of stress and coping, such as the Conservation of Resources Model Hobfoll, 1988), the Warning and Response model (Lindell & Perry, 1992), and the Proactive Coping model (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1997), to develop a self-assessment tool that measures psychological preparedness for a bushfire.

Why my research is important

In the absence of such a measure:

1. Individual’s living in bushfire prone areas are unable to evaluate their ability to cope with their emotional response to a bushfire.

2. Practitioners are unable to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention strategies.

3. Researchers are unable to develop and evaluate theories that are dedicated to shaping and promoting bushfire safe behaviours.


  • Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre


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Last updated:
Friday, 23 January, 2015 3:27 PM