Mental Health Correlates of Hurricane Sandy Exposure among NY Residents
Methods: Survey data was collected from 600 NY area adult participants with varying degrees of hurricane exposure. Participants completed a self-report survey that included demographic questions, a hurricane exposure tool, the PCL-S to assess PTSD symptoms and the PHQ-4 to assess depression/anxiety symptoms. The current study sample was 68.8% female with a mean age of 49.4 years (SD=23.51); 69.3% self-identified as White, 22.3% as Black, and 21.0% as Hispanic.
Results: Out of 30 possible exposures, participants were exposed to an average of 4.01 (SD=3.97). A principal components analysis (PCA) indicated that the exposure measure could be categorized into property and personal exposures. Results of logistic regression analyses indicated that increasing exposure to the hurricane was significantly associated with PTSD (OR=1.32), depression (OR=1.09) and anxiety (OR=1.09) symptoms (p<.05). Having a positive mental health history and younger age were significantly associated with the mental health outcomes in all models. In models in which exposure was categorized based on the PCA results, only property exposure was significantly associated with both anxiety (OR=1.13) and depression (OR=1.10) symptoms.
Conclusions: Hurricane Sandy had a significant impact on participants’ PTSD, anxiety, and depression symptoms even when adjusting for relevant covariates. Future research will examine whether the significant demographic covariates in the models are indicative of vulnerabilities to the negative mental health effects of the hurricane when examining the associations within exposure groups.
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences
Identify the mental health symptoms associated with increased exposure to Hurricane Sandy. Identify the demographic variables associated with increased mental health difficulties in the study’s target population.
Keyword(s): Disasters, Mental Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-Principal Investigator of the CDC U01 that has funded the study on which this submission is based. I am a clinical psychologist with extensive experience researching trauma and its impact on mental health and other disease outcomes.
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.