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Personal disaster and emergency support networks of rural older adults are described before and after participation in a disaster preparedness intervention, PrepWise.
At baseline, a total of 194 disaster support network members were identified by 27 older adults in a rural Midwest community. After the intervention, these participants identified 232 support network members. Multilevel logistic regression models were constructed to identify characteristics of the network members and social interactions associated with support providers at baseline as well as newly added support sources after the PrepWise intervention.
Member and interaction characteristics associated with being identified as emergency support sources at baseline were as follows: family, lived in close proximity, weekly or more frequent contact, and being someone whom participants shared concerns with, trusted, and exchanged emotional support with. After receiving PrepWise, participants on average identified 3 new sources of emergency support within their networks. Support sources added at follow-up tended to be nonfamily members and those participants trusted.
Enhancements in personal emergency support networks occurred after the intervention. Understanding characteristics of the network members and social interactions may assist in identifying additional emergency support sources. Larger studies investigating the impacts of enhanced support networks on disaster-related behaviors and outcomes will be beneficial. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:110–119)
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