Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


George Larkin


Older adults are encountering harsh recovery after disasters, and compounding this problem is the lack of research on older adults' perceptions on disaster preparedness as aging affects the ability to react to emergency situations. To partially address that gap, the purpose of this general qualitative research study was to use Rotter's spectrum of locus of control theory to examine the level of preparation regarding disaster preparation of older adults who were living independently in single-family homes in a state affected by Hurricane Sandy. Data were collected through a qualitative survey distributed to adults aged 65 to 80-years (N=88) and publicly available documents from federal and state emergency management agencies. These data were inductively coded and subjected to a thematic analysis procedure. Findings identified 3 themes that consisted of (a) delayed acceptance, (b) defective instinct, and, (c) unexpected effects of disasters. This study contributes to social change by helping emergency management officials understand the deficiencies in preparedness by an aging population which may in turn improve the quality of life for older adults by stressing proper preparation for sheltering in place or evacuation in the event of a disaster.