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J Health Commun. 2019;24(1):65-74. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2019.1574319. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Disaster Communication, Posttraumatic Stress, and Posttraumatic Growth following Hurricane Matthew.

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a Department of Communication , University of Arkansas , Fayetteville , AR , USA.
b Disaster and Community Crisis Center, Department of Communication , University of Missouri , Columbia , MO , USA.


Disaster survivors may experience a range of mental health reactions that can include posttraumatic stress (PTS) and posttraumatic growth (PTG). The current study examines the associations between citizen disaster communication, PTS, and PTG among individuals in North Carolina communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew, approximately six weeks following the event. Participants who communicated more frequently following the hurricane exhibited more PTS and PTG. Communication activities focused on connecting with loved ones and cognitively restructuring the disaster experience were associated with PTS and PTG, whereas communication activities confirming disaster reports and assisting with disaster recovery were associated solely with PTG. Results illustrate the need for robust disaster communication ecologies to facilitate public disaster mental health response and coordination.

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