Resource loss, coping, alcohol use, and posttraumatic stress symptoms among survivors of Hurricane Katrina: A cross-sectional study


  • Vimal Kishore, PhD
  • Katherine P. Theall, PhD
  • William Robinson, PhD
  • Jamilia Pichon, MSW
  • Richard Scribner, MD, MPH
  • Emily Roberson, MPH
  • Sandy Johnson, PhD



hurricane, coping, loss, PTSD, alcohol


Objective: To assess the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the faculty, staff, and students at a university located in New Orleans, LA.
Design: A cross-sectional,Web-based survey.
Setting: A local college university in New Orleans, LA.
Participants: A total of 364 faculty, staff, and students surveyed during mid July 2006 to September 2006.
Main Outcome Measures: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, coping, resource loss, and substance use.
Results: The study revealed substantial degree of resource loss and consequences due to Katrina. Approximately 22 percent of respondents had PTSD symptoms one year post-Katrina. Positive coping was strongly protective of PTSD symptoms in our sample. Alcohol and drug consumption, on the other hand, was associated with greater PTSD symptoms. Coping, alcohol use, and personal and family injury were also associated with resource loss.
Conclusions: Survivors of a disaster need mental health and substance use services and resources well beyond the first year post disaster, and the student population should be factored in any evacuation planning.

Author Biographies

Vimal Kishore, PhD

Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Katherine P. Theall, PhD

Louisiana State University School of Public Health, New Orleans, Louisiana.

William Robinson, PhD

Louisiana State University School of Public Health, New Orleans, Louisiana; Louisiana Office of Public Health, HIV/AIDS Program, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jamilia Pichon, MSW

Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Richard Scribner, MD, MPH

Louisiana State University School of Public Health, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Emily Roberson, MPH

Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sandy Johnson, PhD

University of Denver, Denver, Colorado.


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How to Cite

Kishore, PhD, V., K. P. Theall, PhD, W. Robinson, PhD, J. Pichon, MSW, R. Scribner, MD, MPH, E. Roberson, MPH, and S. Johnson, PhD. “Resource Loss, Coping, Alcohol Use, and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Among Survivors of Hurricane Katrina: A Cross-Sectional Study”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 3, no. 6, Nov. 2008, pp. 345-57, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2008.0044.