Mental health outcomes in police personnel after Hurricane Katrina

J Occup Environ Med. 2008 Jun;50(6):689-95. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181638685.


Objective: We examined symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) personnel who provided law enforcement and relief services to affected communities following Hurricane Katrina.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of mental health outcomes related to personal and work-related exposures of police personnel 8 weeks after the Hurricane.

Results: Of the 912 police personnel who completed the questionnaire, 227 (26%) reported symptoms consistent with depression and 170 (19%) reported symptoms consistent with PTSD. Risk factors associated with PTSD include recovery of bodies, crowd control, assault, and injury to a family member. Depressive symptoms were associated with rare family contact, uninhabitable home, isolation from the NOPD, assault, and injury to a family member.

Conclusions: Police personnel reported symptoms of PTSD and depression associated with work-related and personal factors following Hurricane Katrina.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cyclonic Storms*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Disasters
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New Orleans / epidemiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Police / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Relief Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires