Predicting posttraumatic stress symptoms in children following Hurricane Katrina: A prospective analysis of the effect of parental distress and parenting practices


  • This article was edited by the journal's Editor-Elect, Daniel S. Weiss.

    This material is based upon work supported by the US Department of Homeland Security under Award Number: 2008-ST-061-ND 0001 and a research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (RMH-078148A). The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the US Department of Homeland Security.


Research exhibits a robust relation between child hurricane exposure, parent distress, and child posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study explored parenting practices that could further explicate this association. Participants were 381 mothers and their children exposed to Hurricane Katrina. It was hypothesized that 3–7 months (T1) and 14–17 months (T2) post-Katrina: (a) hurricane exposure would predict child PTSD symptoms after controlling for history of violence exposure and (b) hurricane exposure would predict parent distress and negative parenting practices, which, in turn, would predict increased child PTSD symptoms. Hypotheses were partially supported. Hurricane exposure directly predicted child PTSD at T1 and indirectly at T2. Additionally, several significant paths emerged from hurricane exposure to parent distress and parenting practices, which were predictive of child PTSD.

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