CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Social and Mental Health Needs Assessment of Katrina Evacuees


Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf Coast as a Category 3 storm on August 29, 2005. Many residents were evacuated to neighboring cities owing to massive destruction. Working with the City of Houston Health Department, researchers conducted a medical and psychological needs assessment of 124 Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston shelters from September 4–12, 2005. Among those willing to talk about their experiences, 41% were afraid they would die, 16% saw someone close to them injured or die, 17% saw violence, and 6% directly experienced physical violence. When using a version of the Impact of Stress Experiences scale, the majority of evacuees scored as experiencing moderate (38.6%) to severe (23.9%) post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. These data suggest that in addition to challenges in finding loved ones, housing, and jobs, many Katrina survivors have experienced significant psychological trauma that may lead to future PTSD.

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Published in Disaster Management & Response, v. 4, no. 3, p. 88-94.

Dr. Ann Coker had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the time of publication.

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