Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Reed

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandra Hansmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Irmo Marini


The prevalence of emergencies and disasters has increased over the past decade which has caused cities, states and countries to routinely develop emergency preparedness and management plans (Turk, 2016). Although these demands have increased, individuals with disabilities have been less represented in the development of the plans (Timmons, 2017; Turk, 2016). According to The World Bank Disaster Risk Management Report (2020), disasters (e.g., infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, hurricanes, earthquakes, industrial accidents.) and post-disaster consequences have increased over recent years.

Although individuals with disabilities have become more aware of emergency preparedness and its importance, researchers have noted that there is a huge disparity of awareness and preparedness related to emergencies and disasters in the disability community (UNISDR Global Assessment Report, 2019). Therefore, this issue could adversely affect individuals with disabilities in essential areas of life (e.g., quality of life, employability, mobility, maintaining their home, communication) (Fox, et al., 2010; Twigg, et al., 2018). In addition, most studies seem to focus on disaster recovery and post disaster information rather than prevention and planning strategies that could help alleviate, and at times prevent, post-disaster issues for people with disabilities and elderly.

Similarly, a lack of awareness of individualized emergency planning strategies for individuals with specific healthcare needs continues to be a significant reason why individuals with disabilities and elderly are more likely to be negatively affected by emergencies than other populations (Charlton, 2000; UNISDR, 2014). The lack of access to participate in emergency preparedness teams or organizations results in persons without disabilities continuing to exclude people with disabilities in the planning efforts of proper and inclusive emergency plans in their communities at large.

The purpose of this study was to measure the self-perceptions of individuals with disabilities related to their level of emergency preparedness as well as access to emergency preparedness information. This study used purposive sampling by recruiting individuals with disabilities who have received services from their local center for independent living (CIL) and reside in the state of Texas. This study utilized the Texas Hazard Mitigation Questionnaire-Revised and a demographic survey that were developed by the researcher to help gain an understanding of general preparedness intentions and behavior as well as personal and demographic factors influencing decision making (e.g., information sources, risk perception, age, dwelling type, socioeconomic status).


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