After Hurricane Katrina

A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology explored the relationship between posttraumatic stress (PTS) and posttraumatic growth (PTG) after Hurricane Katrina, and the role of demographics, predisaster psychological distress, hurricane-related stressors, and psychological resources (optimism and purpose) in predicting each.  Study participants were 334 low-income mothers (82.0% non-Hispanic Black) living in the New Orleans area prior to Hurricane Katrina, who completed surveys in the year prior to the hurricane (T1 [Time 1]) and 1 and 3 years thereafter (T2 and T3). Results showed that higher T2 and T3 PTS full-scale and symptom cluster subscales (Intrusion, Avoidance, and Hyperarousal) were significantly associated with higher T3 PTG, and participants who surpassed the clinical cutoff for probable posttraumatic stress disorder at both T2 and T3 had significantly higher PTG than those who never surpassed the clinical cutoff. Older and non-Hispanic Black participants, as well as those who experienced a greater number of hurricane-related stressors and bereavement, reported significantly greater T3 PTS and PTG. Participants with lower T2 optimism reported significantly greater T3 intrusive symptoms, whereas those with higher T1 and T2 purpose reported significantly greater T3 PTG.  Based on the results, the authors suggest practices and policies with which to identify disaster survivors at greater risk for PTS, as well as longitudinal investigations of reciprocal and mediational relationships between psychological resources, PTS, and PTG.

For the abstract


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