The development and validation of the bushfire psychological preparedness scale

Jessica L. Boylan, Carmen Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia and many other bushfire-prone countries, at-risk residents are encouraged to share the responsibility of bushfire management by preparing themselves physically and psychologically for bushfires [1]. However, to date, much of the focus of the research and bushfire community education is on physical preparedness, leaving much confusion about what it means to be psychologically prepared. This is in part due to the lack of a well-accepted operational definition and measure of bushfire psychological preparedness. Currently, there is one measure of psychological preparedness, based on stress inoculation theory, which shows relatively strong psychometric properties. However, findings from our systematic review suggest an alternative theoretical approach to defining psychological preparedness i.e. cognitive appraisal and psychological resources that enable people to manage their emotional responses to stress. To the authors' knowledge, no measure has been developed that operationally defines psychological preparedness using the latter theoretical approach. To fill this gap, and to extend the research on psychological preparedness for natural hazards, we have developed the Bushfire Psychological Preparedness Scale (BPPS). The aim of this study was to provide a preliminary analysis of the psychometric properties of the BPPS. Following rigorous testing, the resulting scale was a 33-item self-report tool, which meets the most important criteria for satisfactory reliability and validity. In its current format, this tool can be used by anyone with psychological knowledge seeking to understand the psychological preparedness of an individual for a bushfire. With adjustments and consultation with fire agencies, a user-friendly version can be developed for public use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101530
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


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