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Keywords:

  • disaster;
  • hurricane;
  • psychological distress;
  • acute stress disorder symptoms;
  • cross-cultural;
  • trauma

Abstract

This cross-national study examined preparation for and psychological functioning following Hurricane Georges in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the United States. Four to five weeks after the storm made landfall, 697 college students (222 men, 476 women) completed a questionnaire assessing demographic characteristics, preparation, social support, resource loss, and symptoms associated with acute stress disorder. Location, resource loss (especially personal characteristic resources) and social support accounted for a significant portion of psychological distress variance. The findings support the conservation of resources stress theory (Hobfoll. 1989. 1998). Implications of the findings and future research directions are discussed.