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Depress Anxiety. 2011 Jun;28(6):439-46. doi: 10.1002/da.20790. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

Recovery from PTSD following Hurricane Katrina.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We examined patterns and correlates of speed of recovery of estimated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among people who developed PTSD in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

METHOD:

A probability sample of prehurricane residents of areas affected by Hurricane Katrina was administered a telephone survey 7-19 months following the hurricane and again 24-27 months posthurricane. The baseline survey assessed PTSD using a validated screening scale and assessed a number of hypothesized predictors of PTSD recovery that included sociodemographics, prehurricane history of psychopathology, hurricane-related stressors, social support, and social competence. Exposure to posthurricane stressors and course of estimated PTSD were assessed in a follow-up interview.

RESULTS:

An estimated 17.1% of respondents had a history of estimated hurricane-related PTSD at baseline and 29.2% by the follow-up survey. Of the respondents who developed estimated hurricane-related PTSD, 39.0% recovered by the time of the follow-up survey with a mean duration of 16.5 months. Predictors of slow recovery included exposure to a life-threatening situation, hurricane-related housing adversity, and high income. Other sociodemographics, history of psychopathology, social support, social competence, and posthurricane stressors were unrelated to recovery from estimated PTSD.

CONCLUSIONS:

The majority of adults who developed estimated PTSD after Hurricane Katrina did not recover within 18-27 months. Delayed onset was common. Findings document the importance of initial trauma exposure severity in predicting course of illness and suggest that pre- and posttrauma factors typically associated with course of estimated PTSD did not influence recovery following Hurricane Katrina.

© 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID:
21308887
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3138333
Free PMC Article

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