The contribution of pre- and postdisaster social support to short- and long-term mental health after Hurricanes Katrina

A longitudinal study of low-income survivors

Christian S. Chan, Sarah Lowe, Elyssa Weber, Jean E. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A previous study of Hurricane Katrina survivors found that higher levels of predisaster social support were associated with lower psychological distress one year after the storm, and that this pathway was mediated by lower exposure to hurricane-related stressors. As a follow-up, we examined the impact of pre- and postdisaster social support on longer-term of mental health-both psychological distress and posttraumatic stress. In this three-wave longitudinal study, 492 residents in the region affected by Hurricane Katrina reported levels of perceived social support and symptoms of psychological distress prior to the storm (Wave 1). Subsequently, one year after Hurricane Katrina (Wave 2), they reported levels of exposure, perceived social support, and symptoms of psychological distress and posttraumatic stress. The latter three variables were assessed again four years after the hurricane (Wave 3). Results of mediation analysis indicated that levels of exposure to hurricane-related stressors mediated the relationship between Wave 1 perceived social support and Wave 3 psychological distress as well as postdisaster posttraumatic stress. Results of regression analyses indicated that, controlling for Wave 1 psychological distress and disaster exposure, Wave 2 perceived social support was associated with Wave 2 and Wave 3 psychological distress but not posttraumatic stress. Our results confirmed the social causation processes of social support and suggest that posttraumatic stress might not stem directly from the lack of social support. Rather, preexisting deficits in social resources might indirectly affect longer-term posttraumatic stress and general psychological distress by increasing risk for disaster-related stressors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume138
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015

Fingerprint

Cyclonic Storms
Social Support
Longitudinal Studies
Survivors
social support
longitudinal study
Mental Health
low income
mental health
Psychology
Disasters
disaster
Hurricane Katrina
Waves
Income
Longitudinal Study
social process
Psychological Stress
Causality
Psychological Distress

Keywords

  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • Psychological distress
  • Social support

Cite this

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title = "The contribution of pre- and postdisaster social support to short- and long-term mental health after Hurricanes Katrina: A longitudinal study of low-income survivors",
abstract = "A previous study of Hurricane Katrina survivors found that higher levels of predisaster social support were associated with lower psychological distress one year after the storm, and that this pathway was mediated by lower exposure to hurricane-related stressors. As a follow-up, we examined the impact of pre- and postdisaster social support on longer-term of mental health-both psychological distress and posttraumatic stress. In this three-wave longitudinal study, 492 residents in the region affected by Hurricane Katrina reported levels of perceived social support and symptoms of psychological distress prior to the storm (Wave 1). Subsequently, one year after Hurricane Katrina (Wave 2), they reported levels of exposure, perceived social support, and symptoms of psychological distress and posttraumatic stress. The latter three variables were assessed again four years after the hurricane (Wave 3). Results of mediation analysis indicated that levels of exposure to hurricane-related stressors mediated the relationship between Wave 1 perceived social support and Wave 3 psychological distress as well as postdisaster posttraumatic stress. Results of regression analyses indicated that, controlling for Wave 1 psychological distress and disaster exposure, Wave 2 perceived social support was associated with Wave 2 and Wave 3 psychological distress but not posttraumatic stress. Our results confirmed the social causation processes of social support and suggest that posttraumatic stress might not stem directly from the lack of social support. Rather, preexisting deficits in social resources might indirectly affect longer-term posttraumatic stress and general psychological distress by increasing risk for disaster-related stressors.",
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The contribution of pre- and postdisaster social support to short- and long-term mental health after Hurricanes Katrina : A longitudinal study of low-income survivors. / Chan, Christian S.; Lowe, Sarah; Weber, Elyssa; Rhodes, Jean E.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 138, 01.08.2015, p. 38-43.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Rhodes, Jean E.

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