Currie said one explanation for the difference is that the new study utilized data that allowed the researchers to control for changes in the population of an area around the time of a storm that could have affected the previous findings. Earlier research hasn't been able to account for the way the population of an area changes around the time of a stressful event — with people of certain demographic groups more likely than others to move away or stay nearby.The new study included data on eight hurricanes and tropical storms that hit any part of Texas between 1996 and 2008 and caused more than $10 million damage. The most damaging storms were Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, which caused more than $50 billion in damage and 40 deaths, and Hurricane Ike, which caused $19.3 billion in damage and 103 deaths.
Aizer said the research could also have implications beyond the context of natural disasters."Previous work has shown poor mothers are exposed to more stressors. Currie and Rossin-Slater's work suggests that exposure to stress might be one of the mechanisms explaining why poor women have worse birth outcomes," Aizer said. "Policymakers concerned with improving the outcomes of poor families should consider these findings."
Michael Hotchkiss | EurekAlert!
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