228948 Using latent class analysis to explore disasters and their impacts

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Melissa M. Kelley, MS , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Background: The importance of disasters as a public health problem is widely recognized. The goal of this analysis is to: 1) construct an inductively-derived typology to classify disaster experiences, 2) use latent class analysis (LCA) to identify impact subtypes, and 3) use LCA with covariates to identify variations in impact subtypes by disaster type.

Methods: Data were from the National Survey of Disaster Experiences and Preparedness, a nationally representative random-digit-dial telephone survey of adults 18 years of age and older. The construct, disaster experience, was derived from an open-ended question while impact data was obtained from five dichotomous questions about finances, property, peace of mind, trust in government and health. LCA was used to identify impact subtypes. LCA with covariates was then used to identify variations in impact subtypes by disaster type.

Results: In total, 5,392 disaster experiences were reported in the survey. The most frequently mentioned type of disaster was hurricanes (20%) followed by terrorism (19%), floods (9%), earthquakes (9%) and tornadoes (8%). Of the five impact measures, 33% affected finances, 28% affected property, 83% affected peace of mind, 36% affected trust in government, and 15% affected health. LCA identified three impact subtypes: psychological distress with loss of government trust (44%)(class 1), psychological distress with physical loss (17%)(class 2), and psychological distress only (39%)(class 3). The latent classes structured differentially by disaster type.

Conclusion: These findings expand our understanding of disasters and their impacts, which has implications for their study and management.

Learning Objectives:
Describe disaster and impact types. Identify disaster impact subtypes. Discuss the implications of differential impact patterns by disaster type on their management and study.

Keywords: Disasters, Injuries

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Master of Science in Public Health with a specialization in Emergency Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Public Health from UCLA. I am currently a doctoral student in Community Health Sciences with a minor in Urban Planning at the UCLA School of Public Health. The research presented in this talk will be findings from my master's thesis, "Refining the Concept of Disaster through an Inductively-derived Typology." This research was derived from the National Survey on Disaster Experiences and Preparedness, a national household telephone survey of U.S. adults describing and predicting public preparedness, mitigation, and avoidance actions; intended actions; and relevant perceptions of major hazards. Other relevant and current research experience involves work on the California Survey of Household Earthquake Preparedness and Mitigation; an NSF-funded assessment of the public health impacts of Hurricane Katrina; and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Community Outreach Project. My relevant professional experience includes work as a firefighter-emergency medical technician with response experience to disasters.
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.