242525 Impact of Racial Identity on the Attributions of Inadequate Responses to Hurricane Katrina: A Social-Identity Perspective

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Valire Copeland, PhD, MPH , School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Hoa Bui Appel, PhD, MPH , Independent Research, Researcher, Everett, WA
Amy Ai, PhD , Department of Social Work, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Grace Heo, PhD , Department of Social Work, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH
This study examines the attribution of responsibility for the problematic response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The study was conducted three months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (H-KR). We examined the relationship between racial identity and differential attributions of the inadequate response to H-KR. Our analysis is based on data gathered from 505 African American and European American university students, many volunteered during the disaster–relief effort. Based on social identity theory and the historical and contemporary context of the Deep South, we hypothesized that the racial identity of African-American and European-American students would contribute to variations in their attributions of the inadequate response to H-KR. The strength of faith was drawn from the Three-Factor Religiosity Scale designed for population studies on African Americans and European Americans. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to demonstrate the interaction between the two categories of racial identity and two major forms of attributions (Racism-Blaming and Executive Responsibility-Blaming). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to predict Racism-Blaming, controlling for potential confounders. The results revealed African-American identity was related to greater racism attribution, even after controlling for demographics, faith factors, and cognitive-emotional reactions to the hurricanes. European-American identity was associated with more executive responsibility attributions but the effect diminished after adjusting for other factors. This study underscores the importance of acknowledging group identity rather than an overarching American identity in exploring the race effect after a national collective trauma. The consequential implications for disaster planning, future research investigation, and social service delivery are discussed.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss social identity theory and the way in which it relates to racial identity and the attributions of hurricanes’ responses 2. Identify the way in which African American identity is related to racism attribution 3. Describe the way in which a sense of faith impacts the responses to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Keywords: Faith Community, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a coauthor for this study.
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.