Law enforcement officers' involvement level in Hurricane Katrina and alcohol use
Methods: Officers in the immediate New Orleans area were administered a survey assessing their involvement in Hurricane Katrina and alcohol use (AUDIT score). Negative binomial regression models were analyzed for level of hazardous alcohol use; interactions were tested to examine protective influences of marriage and prior military training (controlled for age and gender).
Results: Of the sample population (N=123), 78% were male (N=90), average age was 43.13 years (SD: 9.0); 81% (N=99) worked as sworn officers during Hurricane Katrina, of which 21%, 31%, and 48% experienced light, moderate, and heavy Katrina involvement, respectively. There was a significant association between heavy involvement in Hurricane Katrina and having a greater AUDIT score, indicating higher levels of hazardous alcohol use (Mean AUDIT score, light involvement = 3.34 (SE=0.84), moderate involvement = 3.47 (SE=0.65), heavy involvement = 6.05 (SE 0.96), p < 0.05). Contrary to original hypotheses, marital status and military training were not protective against alcohol use.
Conclusions: These results illustrate an association between law enforcement officers’ heavy involvement during Hurricane Katrina and greater levels of hazardous alcohol use when compared to officers with low or moderate involvement. This has important treatment implications for those with high involvement in disasters as they may require targeted interventions to overcome the stress of such experiences.
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe differences in alcohol consumption for law enforcement officers with low, moderate, and heavy involvement during Hurricane Katrina
Keyword(s): Alcohol Use
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Masters in Public Health and am currently in a Ph.D. program where my work focuses on the intersection of substance use and mental health, including epidemiology of substance use, comorbid mental illness, and social network factors. I work on a federally funded grant examining the mental health of reserve soldiers, including substance use and mental illness correlates. For this abstract, I developed and performed the data analysis, and wrote the abstract text.
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.