Natural disaster and depression: A prospective investigation of reactions to the 1993 Midwest Floods

Elizabeth M. Ginexi, Karen Weihs, Samuel J. Simmens, Danny R. Hoyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A statewide sample of 1735 Iowa residents, approximately half of whom were victims of the 1993 Midwest Floods, participated in interviews 1 year prior to, and 30 to 90 days after, the disaster. Employing a rigorous methodology including both control-group comparisons and predisaster assessments, we performed a systematic evaluation of the disaster's impact. Overall, the disaster led to true but small rises in depressive symptoms and diagnoses 60-90 days postflood. The disaster-psychopathology effect was not moderated by predisaster depressive symptoms or diagnostically defined depression; rather, predisaster symptoms and diagnoses uniquely contributed to increases in postdisaster distress. However, increases in symptoms as a function of flood impact were slightly greater among respondents with the lowest incomes and among residents living in small rural communities, as opposed to on farms or in cities. Implications for individual- and community-level disaster response are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-518
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2000

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Disasters
disaster
natural disaster
Depression
resident
psychopathology
Rural Population
Psychopathology
rural community
farm
low income
Interviews
Control Groups
methodology
interview
evaluation
community
Group

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Longitudinal
  • Major life events
  • Natural disaster
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Natural disaster and depression : A prospective investigation of reactions to the 1993 Midwest Floods. / Ginexi, Elizabeth M.; Weihs, Karen; Simmens, Samuel J.; Hoyt, Danny R.

In: American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 28, No. 4, 08.2000, p. 495-518.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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