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Behav Res Ther. 2007 Oct;45(10):2295-306. Epub 2007 May 10.

The psychosocial impact of Hurricane Katrina: contextual differences in psychological symptoms, social support, and discrimination.

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Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA.


This study tested a contextual model of disaster reaction by examining regional differences in the psychosocial impact of Hurricane Katrina. A total of 386 individuals participated in this study. All were recruited in the primary areas affected by Hurricane Katrina and included residents of metropolitan New Orleans (Orleans Parish, Louisiana), Greater New Orleans (i.e., Metairie, Kenner, Gretna), and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (i.e., cities along the coast from Waveland to Ocean Springs, Mississippi). Participants were assessed for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, other psychological symptoms, perceptions of discrimination, perceptions of social support, evacuation distance, and the extent to which they experienced hurricane-related stressful events. Results were consistent with previous research on the impact of disasters on mental health symptoms. Findings extended research on individual differences in the response to trauma and indicated that regional context predicted unique variance in the experience of discrimination, social support, and emotional symptoms consistent with the theoretical model presented.

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