Online Program

Examining the impact of the deepwater horizon spill on children: A mixed methods approach in a 4-state study

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

David M. Abramson, PhD MPH, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
Lori Peek, PhD, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
The Gulf Coast Population Impact project employed quantitative and qualitative research strategies to identify Gulf Coast communities where children were highly exposed and affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, and then used those data as the basis for community-level interventions targeted at youth. In 2012, based on BP claims data and NOAA oil monitoring data, we selected fifteen communities in four Gulf Coast states. Our team conducted 1,437 face-to-face household surveys, with 887 respondents in Louisiana, 177 in Mississippi, 140 in Alabama, and 233 in Florida. Parents reported considerable exposure to the oil spill as well as a number of physical and mental health problems among their children. Based on this household data, the research team traveled to four selected communities to interview 150 local officials and leaders and conduct in-depth parent focus groups. The qualitative research revealed a number of underlying issues affecting children and youth: lack of access to high-quality pediatric care, particularly specialty and mental health care; dwindling recreational and occupational opportunities for children; rising economic pressures on families leading to cascading problems and stressors; and communities as a whole losing their ability to sustain economic opportunities, social safety net programs, and sufficient networks of providers. Based on these findings we developed a youth empowerment program that will develop skills among youth, foster community engagement, and provide youth with hope and opportunities. This presentation will describe the research strategies and program development, as well as initial efforts at implementation.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe mixed-methods strategies for assessing and analyzing community data in order to determine environmental exposures

Keyword(s): Children and Adolescents, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of 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.