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, 52 (1), 18-24

Needs Assessment of Hurricane Katrina Evacuees Residing Temporarily in Dallas

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Needs Assessment of Hurricane Katrina Evacuees Residing Temporarily in Dallas

Richard V King et al. Community Ment Health J.

Abstract

This study assessed the psychosocial needs of Hurricane Katrina evacuees temporarily residing in Dallas, TX, after sheltering but prior to their permanent resettlement. Common trauma exposures were physical exposure to flood water, seeing corpses, witnessing death, and loss of family, friends, or home. Fewer than 10 % met symptom criteria for disaster-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). More than one-fourth met major depressive disorder (MDD) symptom criteria post-disaster but only 15 % had a new (incident) MDD episode after the disaster. Specific trauma exposures and some hurricane-related stressors contributed to risk for both Katrina-related PTSD symptom criteria and incident MDD, but other hurricane-related stressors were uniquely associated with incident MDD. Referral to mental health services was associated with meeting symptom criteria for PTSD and with incident MDD, but only about one-third of these individuals received a referral. Understanding the needs of disaster-exposed population requires assessing trauma exposures and identifying pre-disaster and post-disaster psychopathology.

Keywords: Disaster; Hurricane evacuees; Major depressive disorder; Mental health; Needs assessment; Posttraumatic stress disorder.

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