The parishes examined by this proposal have seen """"""""five disasters in five years"""""""" - Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, and the DWH disaster. The mental and physical health of women of reproductive age is important not only in itself, but for the health of future generations. Previous studies of environmental disasters largely indicate that although the physical effects of environmental disasters are usually the major source of concern, psychological effects of these disasters can be more significant. Women are vulnerable to post-disaster psychopathology, and pregnant women and mothers may be particularly vulnerable. Women who experience stress during their pregnancy and who have depression or other mental health problems are also at increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes like low birthweight (LBW) and preterm birth (PTB). In addition, some environmental contaminants, such as lead and air pollution, have been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. While it has been proposed that the effects of social and environmental adversity are likely to be cumulative and perpetuate health disparities, this has been little studied. We propose to compare mental and physical health outcomes in women exposed in varying degrees to the DWH disaster. 250 pregnant and non-pregnant women each, from two affected communities, will be recruited over two years, and will be questioned about their experience of the oil spill. Hurricane Katrina, and other adversities. They will also provide blood samples to determine lead and mercury levels. Air pollution data will be collected from monitoring data. Depression and anxiety levels, as well as reproductive choices, will be examined in these women. An additional 1000 pregnant women will be recruited over four years to allow us to examine the effects of the disasters and environmental exposures on birth outcomes.
Our specific aims are 1) To determine the effect of the DWH disaster on the mental health of women of reproductive age;2) To determine the effect of the DWH disaster on reproductive outcomes (reproductive choices, fertility, LBW, PTB);3) To determine the effect of lifetime social adversity on reproductive outcomes, and 4) To determine how social and environmental adversity interact to affect reproductive outcomes. The proposed research will be innovative in bringing together the research on disaster psychology with stress and pregnancy, examining the role of lifetime social adversities on reproductive outcomes, and examining the interaction between social adversity and environmental contamination.

Public Health Relevance

The intent of this proposal is to address health issues of concern to the residents of the Gulf States affected by the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) disaster and oil spill, focusing on women of reproductive age. We will address the effects of a technological disaster, on mental health, reproductive choices, and birth outcomes in pregnant and non-pregnant women. Our project will address the effects of the social and physical environment in producing adult health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LWJ-J)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Tulane University
New Orleans
United States
Zip Code
Simon-Friedt, Bridget R; Howard, Jessi L; Wilson, Mark J et al. (2016) Louisiana residents' self-reported lack of information following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Effects on seafood consumption and risk perception. J Environ Manage 180:526-37
Wickliffe, Jeffrey K; Dertinger, Stephen D; Torous, Dorothea K et al. (2016) Diet-induced obesity increases the frequency of Pig-a mutant erythrocytes in male C57BL/6J mice. Environ Mol Mutagen 57:668-677
Sun, Yue; Ban, Bhupal; Bradbury, Andrew et al. (2016) Combining Yeast Display and Competitive FACS to Select Rare Hapten-Specific Clones from Recombinant Antibody Libraries. Anal Chem 88:9181-9
Lichtveld, Maureen; Sherchan, Samendra; Gam, Kaitlyn B et al. (2016) The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Through the Lens of Human Health and the Ecosystem. Curr Environ Health Rep 3:370-378
Lichtveld, Maureen Y; Shankar, Arti; Mundorf, Chris et al. (2016) Measuring the Developing Therapeutic Relationship Between Pregnant Women and Community Health Workers Over the Course of the Pregnancy in a Study Intervention. J Community Health 41:1167-1176
Wilson, Mark J; Frickel, Scott; Nguyen, Daniel et al. (2015) A targeted health risk assessment following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in Vietnamese-American shrimp consumers. Environ Health Perspect 123:152-9
Jacobs, Marni B; Boynton-Jarrett, Renee D; Harville, Emily W (2015) Adverse childhood event experiences, fertility difficulties and menstrual cycle characteristics. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 36:46-57
Simon-Friedt, Bridget R; Wilson, Mark J; Blake, Diane A et al. (2015) The RPTEC/TERT1 Cell Line as an Improved Tool for In Vitro Nephrotoxicity Assessments. Biol Trace Elem Res 166:66-71
Abramson, David M; Grattan, Lynn M; Mayer, Brian et al. (2015) The resilience activation framework: a conceptual model of how access to social resources promotes adaptation and rapid recovery in post-disaster settings. J Behav Health Serv Res 42:42-57
Jacobs, Marni B; Harville, Emily W (2015) Long-Term Mental Health Among Low-Income, Minority Women Following Exposure to Multiple Natural Disasters in Early and Late Adolescence Compared to Adulthood. Child Youth Care Forum 44:511-525

Showing the most recent 10 out of 16 publications