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Abstract

This study compared risks and protective factors for acquiring symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) between African-American (n=299) and European-American (n=206) student volunteers 3 months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (H-KR). Respondents retrospectively provided information on peritraumatic emotional reactions and previous trauma that were recalled by H-KR and H-KR stressors. African-American respondents reported higher levels of symptoms and higher rates of recollection of prior traumas during H-KR than their European-American counterparts. Hierarchical regression analyses found that previous trauma recollections predicted symptoms among European Americans but not among African Americans. Disaster-related stressors, however, affected African Americans more than European Americans. Though negative emotions had negative outcomes for both groups, positive emotions and hope served as protective factors for African Americans. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.