A Study of the Well-Being and Resilience of UK Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Volunteers

Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation


Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) represents a specialised investigative role vital after Mass Fatality Incidents (MFI). For example, in the aftermath of earthquakes, tsunamis, and large terrorist attacks. This study presents the findings of a study focusing on the common negative effects of DVI work on the emotional and psychological well-being of a sample of UK-based individuals who volunteer (or have in the past) to work in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and how they deal and cope with these negative effects. An exploratory grounded theory approach was adopted, with a sample of 25 semi-structured interviews conducted with both current and retired UK DVI volunteers. Thematic analysis identified 16 key themes, most notably motivations for doing the job, personal rewards, challenges associated with deployment, self-awareness concerning psychological and emotional well-being, coping strategies, support networks, and the levels and appropriateness of available organisational support. The findings also highlight a notable lack of public awareness of DVI volunteers, the work and processes involved, and the common challenges and stresses that confront those who volunteer. Drawing on Bronfenbrenner’s socio-ecological model, a DVI well-being model is proposed, which identifies both DVI volunteer well-being protection and risk factors. We end with a brief discussion of the practical implications of the findings and the significance of the well-being of DVI volunteers and offer some tentative suggestions for future research and practice in this area.
Period18 Dec 2023
Event titleUnited Kingdom Alliance for Disaster Research Annual Conference 2023: 2030 AND BEYOND: Risk-informed decision making, investment and behaviour
Event typeConference
LocationHuddersfield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational