Title

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Factors Associated with Depressive Symptoms Among Residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast: A Path Analysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Department

Social Work

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of the paper is to extend prior research on the psychological effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster by developing and testing a conceptual model in which exposure to the oil spill through clean-up activity, physical symptoms, worry about the impact of the oil spill on health, and the disruption of the gulf/ocean-related lifestyle were hypothesized as predictors of depressive symptoms.

Design/methodology/approach - The analysis included a randomly selected sample of 354 subjects from the three most Southern Mississippi counties. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used to measure depressive symptoms.

Findings - Results indicated that physical symptoms since the oil spill were related to depressive symptoms directly and indirectly through worry about the impact of the oil spill on health and the disruption of the gulf/ocean-related lifestyle. Worry about the impact of the oil spill on health was related to depressive symptoms directly and indirectly through the disruption of the gulf/ocean-related lifestyle.

Originality/value - Study results highlight that uncertainty and worry about the impact of the disaster played a critical role in understanding the psychological effects of the oil spill disaster, especially among coastal residents whose lifestyles were bound up with the gulf/ocean.

Publication Title

Disaster Prevention and Management

Volume

25

Issue

4

First Page

534

Last Page

549

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