Compassion in Crisis: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Flood Survivors and First Responders
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ABSTRACT This research explored compassion as experienced by individuals and first-responders during and after a natural disaster. The participants for this study are those who were involved in the flood event which ravaged Wimberley, Texas, on Memorial Day weekend of 2015. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, this study focused on personal meaning and sense-making of first responders and flood survivors, with particular attention to the experience of compassionate acts. During this flood event, news personnel and professional disaster responders classified individual and group acts of compassion as extraordinary. The research found that responders and helpers addressed the extended and relational selves of the survivors and thus exhibited compassionate care. These acts of compassion enabled the survivors to move forward during and after the crisis due to the acts of the responders and helpers.