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Psychol Aging. 1993 Dec;8(4):606-16.

Age differences in the psychological consequences of Hurricane Hugo.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta 30303.


At 12, 18, and 24 months after Hurricane Hugo, 831 adults were interviewed regarding their disaster-related stressors and present psychological state. The study's purposes were to assess whether age influenced one's vulnerability to postdisaster stress and to evaluate four different perspectives on disaster recovery that have been previously used to explain age differences. Regression analyses demonstrated that disaster exposure had substantial and pervasive psychological effects. The analyses also revealed a curvilinear interaction between disaster exposure and age. Younger people exhibited the most distress in the absence of disaster, but middle-aged people did so in its presence. Differential exposure, resources, and inoculation all failed to explain these differences, however, the burden perspective had considerable explanatory power.

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