The Vulnerability of the Iranian Elderly in Disasters: Qualitative Content Analysis

Leila Daddoust, HamidReza Khankeh, Abbas Ebadi, Robab Sahaf, Maryam Nakhaei, Ali Asgary


Background: Elderly people are among the most vulnerable groups in natural disaster events.  Although old age is responsible for them becoming unequally vulnerable, understanding the  different aspects of vulnerability can help health care providers, especially nurses, to manage  disaster risk for this increasing number of people. This study intended to explore disaster‑related  vulnerability and its contributing factors based on older adults’ perceptions and experiences.

Materials and Methods: This qualitative content analysis study was performed in Iran in 2016.  The study was conducted by semi‑structured interviews of 24 participants, and purposeful sampling  with maximum variation continued until data saturation.

Results: By analyzing primary codes two  main themes were extracted through content analysis, namely personal factors and social factors,  from experiences of two experts in the field of health in emergencies and disaster management  among 22 Iranian elderly participants.

Conclusions: This study indicated that age is not the only  criteria that makes an elderly person vulnerable, but their lifetime achievements and experiences can  determine their level of vulnerability. The results of this study will help health service providers as  well as disaster nurses to identify and moderate the factors affecting the vulnerability of the elderly,  and by using their rich experience, enhance senior citizens’ resilience to disasters. 



Aged, disasters, Iran, vulnerable populations

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