202778 Impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the Mental Health of Vietnamese New Orleanians: A longitudinal data analysis

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lung Vu, MD, PhD , HIV and AIDS Program, Population Council, Washington, DC
Mark J. VanLandingham, Ph D , Department of International Health and Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Mai Do , International Health, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Janet C. Rice, PhD , Department of Biostatistics, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA

Previous disaster studies have been hampered by the lack of pre-event measure. By chance, before Hurricane Katrina happened, data were randomly collected for 128 Vietnamese New Orleanians aged 28 to 52 years old. We were able to re-interview three quarters of these individuals one and two years post-disaster. The main objective of this study is to assess the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the mental health of Vietnamese New Orleanians.


We measured mental health outcomes using standardized SF-36, depression, and PTSD scales. Predictors include demographic factors, acculturation, social support, and damage due to the storm. Bivariate and random effect regression was used to analyze the data.


SF-36 physical (PCS) and mental health (PCS) components scores indicate a significant decline in the mental health one year post-disaster. Mean PCS, which was 52 (pre-disaster), dropped to 47 (1-year post-disaster) (p<.001). Mean MCS, which was 48 (pre-disaster), dropped to 44 (1-year post-disaster) (p<.001). However, the Vietnamese recovered quickly at 2 year post-disaster. PCS and MCS have reached the baseline levels (mean PCS and MCS were 51.7 and 48.6 respectively at 2-year pos-disaster). Being less acculturated and suffering more property damage was significantly associated with greater decline in mental health.


Hurricane Katrina shows significantly negative impacts on the mental health of Vietnamese New Orleanians. However, Vietnamese recovered quickly from the disaster comparing to blacks and whites. Self-reliance, self-sufficiency and strong community support, which are typical to the Vietnamese, might have attributed to these findings.

Learning Objectives:
The study will help participants to: 1) Understand the negative impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the mental health of Vietnamese New Orleannians. 2) Understand factors affecting the mental health of Vietnamese New Orleanians post-disaster. 3) Open for discussion on the resilient aspect of the Vietnamese, comparing to blacks and whites, in response to major disaster.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I have experience in planning, coordinating or organizing educational activities or similar types of work.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Mental Health Poster Session V
See more of: Mental Health