An Exploration of Posttraumatic Growth, Loneliness, Depression, Resilience, and Social Capital Among Survivors of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

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Geography and Geology; Social Work


The aim of this study was to examine the relationships among posttraumatic growth (PTG), loneliness, depression, psychological resilience, and social capital among survivors of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The survey was administered to a spatially stratified, random sample of households in the three coastal counties of Mississippi. A total of 216 participants were included in this study who lived in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico coastline during both disasters. Results from structural equation modeling analyses indicated that there was a significant and inverse relationship between PTG and loneliness. Conversely, a direct relationship was not found between PTG and depressive symptoms; instead, the results revealed an indirect relationship between PTG and depressive symptoms through loneliness. Social capital was related to loneliness only indirectly through PTG, while psychological resilience was related to loneliness both directly and indirectly through PTG. Understanding the relationships among these factors, particularly the importance of PTG, can provide insight into the long‐term adaptation among those who have survived multiple disasters. Further, these findings may lead to nuanced methods for behavioral health practitioners in assessing and treating individuals with symptoms of depression in disaster‐prone communities.

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Journal of Community Psychology

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