Study: Hurricanes linked with mental ills

May 9, 2006

Florida State University sociologists say they have found a link between the effects of devastating hurricanes and mental health problems.

The scientists say they discovered some South Floridians who survived 1992's Hurricane Andrew suffered mental health problems many years later. That has led to a prediction of even more dire consequences for those who lived through last year's Hurricane Katrina that ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The researchers in Tallahassee -- sociology doctoral student and lead author David Russell and professors John Taylor and Donald Lloyd -- say although the short-term mental health consequences of Hurricane Andrew have been documented, their study of adolescents is the first to show the storm inflicted long-term effects on mental health.

"We found that people who ... had pre-existing symptoms of psychological distress were more adversely affected by exposure to hurricane-related stressful events," Russell said.

"Based on our findings, we believe intervention efforts should include assessments of the prior experiences and psychological well-being of disaster victims. Doing so will aid response workers in identifying those most at risk for developing post-disaster psychological problems."

The study was presented recently in New Orleans during the annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: 'Nudges' an inexpensive, effective way to increase completion of health promotion programs

Related Stories

Recommended for you

TET proteins drive early neurogenesis

December 7, 2016

The fate of stem cells is determined by series of choices that sequentially narrow their available options until stem cells' offspring have found their station and purpose in the body. Their decisions are guided in part by ...

Deep brain stimulation may not boost memory

December 7, 2016

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of areas in the brain known to be involved in making memories does not improve memory performance, according to a study by Columbia University researchers published December 7 in Neuron. The study ...

Knowing one's place in a social hierarchy

December 7, 2016

When you start a new job, it's normal to spend the first day working out who's who in the pecking order, information that will come in handy for making useful connections in the future. In an fMRI study published December ...

Half of people believe fake facts

December 7, 2016

Many people are prone to 'remembering' events that never happened, according to new research by the University of Warwick.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.