Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2009


This study focuses on mental health and psychosocial distress sequelae of Hurricane Katrina cataclysm among survivors. The purpose of this article is to: (1) assess the variation in psychosocial distress among the survivors of Katrina by socio-demographic, structural and situational factors; (2) determine if there are significant racial and gender differences in the extent of psychological stress, especially between Black and White, male and female survivors; and (3) to evaluate the influence of resource loss or financial burden imposed, social support, and perceived victimization on psychosocial distress among survivors. The Gallup/CNN/USA Today survey data collected in 2005 and 2006 from a representative (random) sample of Katrina survivors are used. Among the results, significant racial differences were found in psychological impacts including reported symptoms of sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, and worries about the future. In a series of multivariate analyses including factor analysis and OLS regression models, residency in Orleans parish prior to the storm, older age, female gender, having dependent children, unemployment, extent of property damage, and financial impacts sustained consistently predict psychological distress among the survivors. The theoretical, methodological, and applied policy implications of these findings are discussed.


Published by the Society for Human Ecology