Self-perceived disaster preparedness in minority older adults: A cross-sectional study




disaster preparedness, older minority adults, disaster response


Objective: Evidence suggests that people of color, especially African Americans and non-White Hispanics, residing in low-income communities are the most vulnerable to natural disasters. This study assessed individual level of self-perceived disaster preparedness, disaster response actions, and sociodemographic predictors of disaster preparedness among older minority adults in Houston, Texas.

Method: Working with Houston-area community-based organizations and senior-living centers, a cross-sectional survey, available in English and Spanish, was disseminated between November 2020 and January 2021.

Participants: Five hundred and twenty-two older minority adults aged 55+ completed the electronic survey.

Main outcome measure(s): The main outcome measure was the level of self-perceived preparedness regarding emergencies and disasters—ie, prepared vs not prepared—among the study participants.

Results: Overall, about 58 percent of older minority adults did not perceive themselves to be prepared. Compared to individuals reporting annual incomes below $25,000, individuals reporting annual incomes between $25,000 and $74,999 were more likely to report being prepared [odds ratio (OR) = 2.28, 95 percent confidence interval (CI) = 1.29, 4.05]. Individuals who tested positive or had a close family member test positive for COVID-19 experienced 2.16 times higher odds of having self-perceived disaster preparedness than those who did not [OR = 2.16, 95 percent CI = 1.37, 3.42]. None of the other covariates were statistically significant.

Conclusions: While we observed no differences in self-perceived disaster preparedness between African American and Hispanic older adults, our findings suggest the importance of prior experience/exposure to previous disasters and the role of socioeconomic status in self-perceived disaster preparedness in minority older adults.

Author Biographies

Minji Chae, MS

Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Sumaita Choudhury, MPH

Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Jason Franco-Castano, BS

Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Omolola E. Adepoju, PhD, MPH

Department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences, University of Houston College of Medicine, Houston; Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute, University of Houston, Texas


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How to Cite

Chae, MS, M., S. Choudhury, MPH, J. Franco-Castano, BS, and O. E. Adepoju, PhD, MPH. “Self-Perceived Disaster Preparedness in Minority Older Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 17, no. 2, Apr. 2022, pp. 117-25, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2022.0425.