SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • African Americans;
  • women;
  • single parents;
  • Hurricane Katrina;
  • New Orleans;
  • natural disasters;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • health outcomes

The purpose of this study was to document changes in mental and physical health among 392 low-income parents exposed to Hurricane Katrina and to explore how hurricane-related stressors and loss relate to post-Katrina well-being. The prevalence of probable serious mental illness doubled, and nearly half of the respondents exhibited probable posttraumatic stress disorder. Higher levels of hurricane-related loss and stressors were generally associated with worse health outcomes, controlling for baseline sociodemographic and health measures. Higher baseline resources predicted fewer hurricane-associated stressors, but the consequences of stressors and loss were similar regardless of baseline resources. Adverse health consequences of Hurricane Katrina persisted for a year or more and were most severe for those experiencing the most stressors and loss. Long-term health and mental health services are needed for low-income disaster survivors, especially those who experience disaster-related stressors and loss.