Coping support factors among Australians affected by terrorism: 2002 Bali bombing survivors speak
Objectives: To examine terrorism survivors' perceptions of factors likely to promote coping and recovery, and to determine whether coping supports vary according to demographic, physical and mental health, incident-exposure and bereavement variables. Design, setting and participants: Individuals directly exposed to and/or bereaved by the 2002 Bali bombings and who had participated in a New South Wales Health therapeutic support program completed cross-sectional telephone interviews during July-November 2010. Spoken passages were categorised into coping support themes. Advocated supports were then examined by demographic, physical and mental health, incident-exposure and bereavement variables. Main outcome measures: Based on their experiences, respondents identified personal, social and service-related factors that they believed would optimally support future survivors of terrorism. Results: Of the 81 people contacted, 55 (68%) participated, providing a total of 114 comments. Thirty-two respondents were women, and 54 had lost relatives or friends in the bombing. Mean age was 50 years (range, 20-73 years). Four meaningful coping support themes emerged, with excellent inter-rater reliability: professional help and counselling; social support; proactive government response and policy; and personal coping strategies. Women were significantly more likely to advocate the need for proactive government response (P = 0.03). Men were more likely to endorse the use of personal coping strategies (P < 0.01). Respondents diagnosed with a mental health condition since the bombings were significantly less likely to advocate social support processes (P = 0.04). Conclusions: Our findings highlight the perceived value of counselling-related services for terrorism-affected groups. Male survivors may benefit more from mental health interventions that initially build on problem-focused forms of coping, including brief education about reactions and periodic check-ups. Proactive government health and support services that allow simplified and longer-term access were consistently identified as priority areas.