The purpose of this project is to examine how a group of low-income parents from New Orleans?most of whom are single African American women?have coped with the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The 1,019 low-income parents in our sample are part of a randomized intervention, started before Hurrican Katrina, that provided members of a randomly-selected treatment group with tuition assistance and academic advising at local community colleges. Because of their participation in this study, we have pre- hurricane information on the health, social networks, and economic status of members of the treatment and control groups. We have already conducted one post-hurricane follow-up survey and set of qualitative interviews, and propose to collect another wave of data shortly after the three-year anniversary of the hurricane. Our focus will be on identifying factors that promote resilience and heighten vulnerability within this group. We will study how pre-hurricane resources and capacities?defined to include mental and physical health, social networks, and economic resources?affect the ability to successfully adjust to a major life trauma. We will study the factors that influence a broad set of outcomes measured over a three-year period following the hurricane, including psychological distress, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma exposure, and the re-establishment of social networks and resumption of employment and educational activities. We will also examine how the children in these families are coping with the effects of the hurricane. Finally, we will examine whether those in the treatment group, who gained additional education education prior to the hurricane, experience better post-hurricane outcomes than those in the control group. This study will contribute to our collective knowledge of the consequences of what may be the worst natural disaster experienced in the United States. The quantitative and qualitative analyses will provide empirical evidence on the effects of the disaster on the health, social and economic status of a vulnerable segment of the population: low income parents and their children. The findings of our research will be relevant to both policy-makers involved in disaster planning, and well as practitioners who treat those who have experienced disaster-related trauma.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HOP-B (02))
Program Officer
Bures, Regina M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Princeton University
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
Zip Code
Arcaya, Mariana C; Lowe, Sarah R; Asad, Asad L et al. (2017) Association of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms with migraine and headache after a natural disaster. Health Psychol 36:411-418
Morris, Katherine Ann; Deterding, Nicole M (2016) The emotional cost of distance: Geographic social network dispersion and post-traumatic stress among survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Soc Sci Med 165:56-65
Lowe, Sarah R (2015) Trajectories of Perceived Social Support Among Low-Income Female Survivors of Hurricane Katrina. J Soc Pers Relat 32:1034-1055
Lowe, Sarah R; Rhodes, Jean E; Waters, Mary C (2015) Understanding Resilience and Other Trajectories of Psychological Distress: a Mixed-Methods Study of Low-Income Mothers Who Survived Hurricane Katrina. Curr Psychol 34:537-550
Calvo, RocĂ­o; Arcaya, Mariana; Baum, Christopher F et al. (2015) Happily Ever After? Pre-and-Post Disaster Determinants of Happiness Among Survivors of Hurricane Katrina. J Happiness Stud 16:427-442
Arcaya, Mariana C; Lowe, Sarah R; Rhodes, Jean E et al. (2014) Association of PTSD symptoms with asthma attacks among hurricane Katrina survivors. J Trauma Stress 27:725-9
Lowe, Sarah R; Willis, Margaret; Rhodes, Jean E (2014) Health problems among low-income parents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Health Psychol 33:774-82
Arcaya, Mariana; James, Peter; Rhodes, Jean E et al. (2014) Urban sprawl and body mass index among displaced Hurricane Katrina survivors. Prev Med 65:40-6
Fussell, Elizabeth; Harris, Elizabeth (2014) Homeownership and Housing Displacement after Hurricane Katrina among Low-Income African-American Mothers in New Orleans. Soc Sci Q 95:1086-1100
Arcaya, Mariana C; Subramanian, S V; Rhodes, Jean E et al. (2014) Role of health in predicting moves to poor neighborhoods among Hurricane Katrina survivors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:16246-53

Showing the most recent 10 out of 24 publications