Florida State University sociologists in Tallahassee, Fla. have found that some South Floridians who survived 1992s Hurricane Andrew suffered mental health problems many years later, a finding that has led the researchers to predict even more dire consequences for those who lived through last years devastating Hurricane Katrina.
The researchers, sociology doctoral student and lead author David Russell and professors John Taylor and Donald Lloyd, presented their findings at the 2006 annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society held recently in New Orleans. Although the short-term mental health consequences of Hurricane Andrew have been documented, this study of adolescents is the first to show that it had long-term effects on mental health.
"We found that people who experienced prior stressful events and who had pre-existing symptoms of psychological distress were more adversely affected by exposure to hurricane-related stressful events," Russell said.
David Russell | EurekAlert!
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