Original Research

Mindset as a resilience resource and perceived wellness of first responders in a South African context

John W. O'Neil, Leandri Kruger
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 14, No 1 | a1312 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v14i1.1312 | © 2022 John W. O’Neil, Leandri Kruger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 February 2022 | Published: 30 June 2022

About the author(s)

John W. O'Neil, African Centre for Disaster Studies, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; and, SA Army Assessment Centre, Military Psychological Institute, South African National Defence Force, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, African Centre For Disaster Studies, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Leandri Kruger, African Centre for Disaster Studies, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; and, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, African Centre For Disaster Studies, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

The global increase in frequency and intensity of disasters and emergency situations has a major disruptive effect on societies that is especially visible in Africa, where conflict, poverty, diseases and social unrest are some of the biggest factors contributing to societal vulnerability. Developing countries such as South Africa are vulnerable to the impact of disaster situations that strain the society’s ability to deal with these emergencies. First responders play an important function responding to disasters but are exposed to work-related stressors that could impact their performance. Several international studies make a link between wellness, performance and resilience and the use of resilience resources in the development and enhancement of wellness, indicating that resilience resources such as a resilient mindset are an indicator of good mental health and performance amongst first responders, despite being exposed to traumatic situations. However, very little research has been carried out on first responders in South Africa, making this study an important stepping stone towards gaining an understanding of the relationship between mindset as a resilience resource and perceived wellness of first responders in a South African context. Data were collected from 52 first responders using a structured questionnaire. The results indicate a statistically significant relationship between mindset and perceived wellness, with all the wellness factors indicating that the mindset of first responders plays a crucial role in their resilience and perception of wellness, necessitating additional research in this specialised field of disaster response.


Keywords

mindset; perceived wellness; resilience; resilience resources; first responders

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