The Resilience in Survivors of Katrina Project (“RISK”) Project (Mary Waters, PI, Jean Rhodes and Beth Fussell, co-PI’s)  is a longitudinal study of low-income parents who lived in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina. Starting in 2003—before the hurricane occurred—1,019 low-income parents from New Orleans enrolled in a study designed to increase educational attainment among community college students. The study measured participants’ economic status, social ties, and mental and physical health prior to the hurricane. Although Hurricane Katrina disrupted the study in August of 2005, it provided an extremely rare opportunity to study the consequences of a disaster for the lives of vulnerable individuals and their families. We have conducted two follow-up surveys and two rounds of in-depth qualitative interviews.


Post Traumatic Growth

As part of the Risk Project, our team has been researching self reported positive psychological changes that are attributed to having experienced a trauma. We have examined the relationship of posttraumatic growth to posttraumatic stress, global psychological distress, religiosity and … Continue reading

Child Outcomes

Children who were exposed to Hurricane Katrina faced a range of stressors, including the loss of loved ones and threats to their physical safety. In the years since the disaster, many have faced ongoing stressors associated with caregiver mental health … Continue reading

Gene X Environment

We launched an interdisciplinary collaboration with Jordan Smoller, a psychiatric geneticist at MGH, post-doctoral fellows Erin Dunn and Nadia Solovieff, and Karestan Koenen, an epidemiologist in Public Health, with expertise in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and genotype-environment interaction. This collaboration … Continue reading

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