Date of Award

Fall 12-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Weems, Carl

Second Advisor

Beaton, Elliott

Third Advisor

Varela, Enrique


Hurricane exposure places youth at risk for psychological distress such as symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression, while social support may contribute to resilience following disasters. This study examined associations among family and peer social support, level of hurricane exposure, and psychological distress using both a large single-time assessment sample (N = 1098) and a longitudinal sample followed over a six-month period (n = 192). Higher levels of hurricane exposure were related to lower levels of social support from family and peers as well as to higher levels of psychological distress. Higher levels of family and peer social support demonstrated both concurrent and longitudinal associations with lower levels of psychological distress, with associations varying by social support source and psychological distress outcome. Findings suggested that the protective effects of high peer social support against the development of PTSD symptoms may be diminished by high hurricane exposure.


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.