Recovery from PTSD following Hurricane Katrina

Citation:

McLaughlin, K. A., Berglund, P., Gruber, M. J., Kessler, R. C., Sampson, N. A., & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2011). Recovery from PTSD following Hurricane Katrina. Depression and Anxiety , 28 (6), 439โ€“446.
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Date Published:

jun

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: We examined patterns and correlates of speed of recovery of estimated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among people who developed PTSD in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. METHOD: A probability sample of prehurricane residents of areas affected by Hurricane Katrina was administered a telephone survey 7-19 months following the hurricane and again 24-27 months posthurricane. The baseline survey assessed PTSD using a validated screening scale and assessed a number of hypothesized predictors of PTSD recovery that included sociodemographics, prehurricane history of psychopathology, hurricane-related stressors, social support, and social competence. Exposure to posthurricane stressors and course of estimated PTSD were assessed in a follow-up interview. RESULTS: An estimated 17.1% of respondents had a history of estimated hurricane-related PTSD at baseline and 29.2% by the follow-up survey. Of the respondents who developed estimated hurricane-related PTSD, 39.0% recovered by the time of the follow-up survey with a mean duration of 16.5 months. Predictors of slow recovery included exposure to a life-threatening situation, hurricane-related housing adversity, and high income. Other sociodemographics, history of psychopathology, social support, social competence, and posthurricane stressors were unrelated to recovery from estimated PTSD. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of adults who developed estimated PTSD after Hurricane Katrina did not recover within 18-27 months. Delayed onset was common. Findings document the importance of initial trauma exposure severity in predicting course of illness and suggest that pre- and posttrauma factors typically associated with course of estimated PTSD did not influence recovery following Hurricane Katrina.

Last updated on 09/13/2018