Disaster down East: using participatory action research to explore intimate partner violence in eastern North Carolina

Health Educ Behav. 2004 Aug;31(4 Suppl):69S-84S. doi: 10.1177/1090198104266035.


In the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd in 1999, a Community Advisory Committee requested assistance from its university partners (University of North Carolina) to address stress and increased risk for intimate partner violence (IPV). Collected from 12 study work sites, baseline data indicated that IPV rates were higher among blue-collar women in eastern North Carolina than national population-based rates suggest. IPV victims reported higher levels of perceived stress, psychological distress, somatic complaints, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms than did nonvictimized coworkers. As for the relationship of the flood to IPV, no significant increase in IPV incidence occurred after the flood. Regardless of their flood experience, however, IPV victims consistently reported greater stress, PTSD symptoms, and somatic and psychological problems. Moreover, IPV victims may be at higher risk for stress-mediated chronic illnesses and for using negative coping behaviors. This study uses an established trusting relationship between researchers and community members to explore community needs and inform intervention design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Women's Health*