Experience of Hurricane Katrina and reported intimate partner violence

J Interpers Violence. 2011 Mar;26(4):833-45. doi: 10.1177/0886260510365861. Epub 2010 May 21.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been associated with stress, but few studies have examined the effect of natural disaster on IPV. In this study, the authors examine the relationship between experience of Hurricane Katrina and reported relationship aggression and violence in a cohort of 123 postpartum women. Hurricane experience is measured using a series of questions about damage, injury, and danger during the storm; IPV was measured using the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS-2). Multiple log-poisson regression was used to calculate relative risks (RRs), adjusted for potential confounders. Most participants report that they and their partners had explained themselves to each other, showed each other respect, and also insulted, swore, or shouted during conflicts with each other. A few participants report physical violence, sexual force, or destroying property, though in each case at least 5% endorse that it had happened at least once in the last 6 months. Another few report that they and their partners had carried out these actions. Experiencing damage due to the storm is associated with increased likelihood of most conflict tactics. Strong RRs are seen for the relationship between damage due to the storm and aggression or violence, especially being insulted, sworn, shouted, or yelled at (adjusted relative risk [aRR] = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.02-1.48); pushed, shoved, or slapped (aRR = 5.28, 95% CI = 1.93-14.45); or being punched, kicked, or beat up (aRR = 8.25, 95% CI = 1.68-40.47). Results suggest that certain experiences of the hurricane are associated with an increased likelihood of violent methods of conflict resolution. Relief and medical workers may need to be aware of the possibility of increased IPV after disaster.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Comorbidity
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cyclonic Storms*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mississippi / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Partners
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult