The development and validation of the disaster adaptation and resilience scale
Disaster events both in the U.S. and worldwide are increasing in severity and prevalence. In response to the threat of disasters, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued calls for developing well-tested assessment tools that operationalize specific protective factors associated with resilience to disaster. Recognizing this need, this dissertation project developed and validated the Disaster Adaptation and Resilience Scale (DARS) to measure specific domains found to support adaptive responses in individuals exposed to disaster events. The development and validation processes of the scale occurred across two phases. Phase I consisted of the construct development, item generation, and expert review. Phase II conducted a full validation evaluation of the psychometric properties of the scale and tested direct and indirect relationships between disaster stress exposure, DARS, and mental health in a sample of adults (N=625) using structural equation modeling (SEM). Results found DARS demonstrated psychometric properties that support its use among adults experiencing disaster. Limitations and implications of the scale are discussed, including application within clinical, research, and policy settings.