Date of Award

5-18-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Psychology

Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Weems, Carl

Second Advisor

Frick, Paul

Third Advisor

Scaramella, Laura

Fourth Advisor

Pina, Armando

Fifth Advisor

Varela, Enrique

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of Hurricane Katrina on youth anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms (PTSD symptoms) by examining the roles of pre Katrina youth anxiety, parental anxiety, parental and youth attachment beliefs, and parenting behaviors. Seventy-four youth (ages 6 to 17, mean age: 11.34 years) and their parents were recruited for this study. Youth anxiety was assessed through the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scales (child and parent version). Youth PTSD symptoms were assessed through the PTSD Checklist. Parental anxiety was assessed through the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (anxiety subscale). Child attachment beliefs to their parents were assessed with the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment and parental attachment beliefs to their romantic partner were assessed through the Experiences in Close Relationships. Parenting behaviors were assessed through the Children.s Report of Parent Behavior Inventory. Results indicated that: (1) youth anxiety pre Katrina predicted youth anxiety/PTSD symptoms post Katrina, (2) youth pre Katrina levels of trust, communication, and secure attachment beliefs to mothers moderated the association between youth pre Katrina and post Katrina anxiety, (3) youth pre Katrina perceptions of acceptance moderated the association between youth pre Katrina and post Katrina anxiety, and (4) youth pre Katrina perceptions of firm control moderated the association between youth pre Katrina and post Katrina anxiety. The influence of age, gender, ethnicity, and number of traumatic events experienced in Hurricane Katrina is also presented. Findings are discussed in terms of identifying pre-disaster functioning variables that moderate the association between youth pre Katrina and post Katrina anxiety.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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