Resource loss, coping, alcohol use, and posttraumatic stress symptoms among survivors of Hurricane Katrina: a cross-sectional study

Am J Disaster Med. 2008 Nov-Dec;3(6):345-57.


Objective: To assess the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the faculty, staff and students at a university located in New Orleans, LA.

Design: A cross-sectional, Web-based survey.

Setting: A local college university in New Orleans, LA.

Participants: A total of 364 faculty, staff and students surveyed during mid July 2006 to September 2006.

Main outcome measures: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, coping, resource loss, and substance use.

Results: The study revealed substantial degree of resource loss and consequences due to Katrina. Approximately 22 percent of respondents had PTSD symptoms one year post-Katrina. Positive coping was strongly protective of PTSD symptoms in our sample. Alcohol and drug consumption, on the other hand, was associated with greater PTSD symptoms. Coping, alcohol use, and personal and family injury were also associated with resource loss.

Conclusions: Survivors of a disaster need mental health and substance use services and resources well beyond the first year post disaster, and the student population should be factored in any evacuation planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cyclonic Storms*
  • Disasters
  • Faculty
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Orleans
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Students
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult