Mental health outcomes at the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy

Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2013;15(3):147-58.


On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the most densely populated region in the US. In New Jersey, thousands of families were made homeless and entire communities were destroyed in the worst disaster in the history of the state. The economic impact of Sandy was huge, comparable to Hurricane Katrina. The areas that sustained the most damage were the small- to medium-sized beach communities along New Jersey's Atlantic coastline. Six months following the hurricane, we conducted a random telephone survey of 200 adults residing in 18 beach communities located in Monmouth County. We found that 14.5% (95% CI = 9.9-20.2) of these residents screened positive for PTSD and 6.0% (95% CI = 3.1-10.2) met criteria for major depression. Altogether 13.5% (95% CI = 9.1-19.0) received mental health counseling and 20.5% (95% CI = 15.1-26.8) sought some type of mental health support in person or online, rates similar to those reported in New York after the World Trade Center disaster In multivariate analyses, the best predictors of mental health status and service use were having high hurricane exposure levels, having physical health limitations, and having environmental health concerns. Research is needed to assess the mental health status and service use of Jersey Shore residents over time, to evaluate environmental health concerns, and to better understand the storm's impact among those with physical health limitations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cyclonic Storms* / statistics & numerical data
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / etiology
  • Disasters* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mental Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Young Adult