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Depress Anxiety. 2008;25(5):416-21.

Symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder in an outpatient population before and after Hurricane Katrina.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi 39216-4505, USA. amcleish@psychiatry.umsmed.edu

Abstract

The aim of the present investigation was to evaluate symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in an outpatient psychiatric population before and after Hurricane Katrina. The sample consisted of 156 patients (110 females; M(age)=41.2 years, SD=10.9) at an outpatient psychiatric clinic who completed measures of psychological symptoms as part of their regular clinical care in the month before (n=76; 49%) and the 1 month after (n=80; 51%) Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Partially consistent with prediction, depression scores were significantly higher in the month following the hurricane, but PTSD scores were not significantly different. Depressive symptoms after the hurricane were predicted by watching television coverage of the looting that occurred in New Orleans and by the amount of time the participant was without electricity. Symptoms of PTSD after the hurricane were predicted by the participants' use of general television viewing as a coping strategy, the amount of time they spent watching television coverage of the looting in New Orleans, and the use of prayer as a coping behavior. Of these variables, only prayer was associated with a decrease in PTSD symptoms. Findings are discussed in relation to the need for collaborative efforts between clinically oriented and research-oriented institutions to study the impact of large-scale disasters on a variety of populations.

PMID:
17969132
DOI:
10.1002/da.20426
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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