208641 Fluctuating household composition and stability in a displaced population

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tasha Stehling-Ariza, MPH , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
Yoon Soo Park, MS , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
David M. Abramson, PhD MPH , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
After Hurricane Katrina, over 100,000 people were displaced from their homes for at least six months after the storm. With the limited availability of permanent and affordable housing, many households were forced to move in and out of temporary settings and, eventually, some moved in with family or friends to alleviate the financial burden of constant upheaval. Conversely, the stress of the storm and ongoing displacement resulted in the break up of other family units. This fluctuation within households can have both beneficial and harmful effects. For example, additional members contributing to the household can relieve some of the economic stress; however, if the additional people do not contribute, they may compound the stress that already exists within the household. The Gulf Coast Child and Family Health study has collected annual data from 1,079 randomly selected households heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina. At three years post-Katrina, 64.4% of the households were living in unstable housing, 78.0% had not yet recovered, and 38.7% of respondents reported poor mental health. Multiple statistical methods, including hierarchical linear modeling, were used to determine the external community and household-level factors that contribute to changing household composition, and to evaluate the impact of those fluctuations on recovery and mental health. These results give housing planners a better understanding of the impact of household dynamics on the housing needs of a displaced population.

Learning Objectives:
To identify external factors associated with fluctuations in household composition. To evaluate the impact of changing household composition on mental health and recovery.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Director for the Gulf Coast Child and Family Health study with an MPH in Epidemiology and a candidate for a PhD in Epidemiology. I have supervised the data management and conducted analyses for this paper, as well as written the abstract.
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.