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 problems, residential instability, and multiple school transitions. Not surprisingly, a growing body of research has documented the adverse mental health consequences of Hurricane Katrina on children (e.g., Abramson, Park, Stehling-Ariza, & Redlener, 2010; Scheeringa & Zeanah, 2008). In a series of studies, we are investigating the longer-term impact of hurricane exposure on low-income mothers’ reports of their elementary school aged children’s psychological functioning. In subsequent waves of data collection, we hope to include child self-report, observational, and DNA data. We also plan to examine the impact of mothers’ DNA data, substance use, and other risky environment variables on child outcomes, as well as the effect of pregnancy during the storm on mothers’ and child post-hurricane outcomes.

Publications:

Lowe, S. R., Godoy, L., Rhodes, J. E. & Carter, A. S. (2013). Predicting mothers’ reports of children’s mental health three years after Hurricane Katrina. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 34(1), 17-27. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2012.09.002.

Lowe, S. R., Chan, C. S. & Rhodes, J. E. (2011). The impact of child related stressors on the psychological functioning of lower-income mothers after Hurricane Katrina.  Journal of Family Issues, 32(10), 1303-1324. doi: 10.1177/0192513X11412492.