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Rehabil Psychol. 2010 Aug;55(3):231-40. doi: 10.1037/a0020321.

The psychosocial impact of Hurricane Katrina on persons with disabilities and independent living center staff living on the American Gulf Coast.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy & Management, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.



To determine the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the psychosocial health of people with disabilities and on the ability of people with disabilities in the affected area to live independently.


Transcribed conversations were analyzed for 56 survivors of Hurricane Katrina on the American Gulf Coast, all of whom were persons with disabilities or persons working with them.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted either individually or in focus groups with participants. Qualitative analysis was undertaken using hermeneutic techniques.


Six major themes emerged: faith, incredulousness, blaming others or oneself, family adaptation and resiliency, and work and professional responsibility.


The resiliency of persons with disabilities to adapt to disasters can be better understood through factors such as these, providing an effective barometer of social capital that can help societies prepare for future disasters among those most vulnerable.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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