The, Resilience in Survivors of Katrina (RISK) Project, has followed the same group of low-income, mostly black women from the years leading up to Hurricane Katrina and for the 10 years since the Hurricane. This research began in 2003 when 1,019 low-income, mostly African American young women from New Orleans enrolled in a study designed to increase educational attainment among community college students. My students, co-investigators and I measured participants’ economic status, social ties, and mental and physical health. Hurricane Katrina disrupted the study in August of 2005. However, it provided an extremely rare opportunity to study the consequences of a disaster for vulnerable individuals and their families. Hurricane Katrina not only exposed an unprecedented number of individuals to devastating trauma and loss, it disrupted social, economic, and other systems in ways that prolonged recovery efforts and undermined survivors’ wellbeing.

Difficulties such as these are often amplified in communities characterized by high levels of poverty and marginalization. Fewer than 5% of studies have pre-disaster information on survivors’ economic, social, health, and psychological status(Norris et al.,2002) and very few have longitudinal data on a wide range of aspects as well. Moreover, the inclusion of five-year post-disaster data, also a rarity, allows us to explore longer-term growth trajectories.

Related Publications

Association of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms with Migraine and Headache after a Natural Disaster: A Longitudinal Study

Arcaya, M., Lowe, S., Asad, A.L, Subramanian, S.V., Waters, M.C., & Rhodes, J. (2017).  Association of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms with Migraine and Headache after a Natural Disaster. Health Psychology. Advance online publication. [PDF]

The contribution of pre- and postdisaster social support to short- and long-term mental health after Hurricanes Katrina

Chan, C. S., Lowe, S. R., Weber, E., & Rhodes, J. E. (2015).The contribution of pre- and postdisaster social support to short- and long-term mental health after Hurricanes Katrina: A longitudinal study of low-income survivors. Social Science & Medicine, 138, 38-43.[PDF]

Understanding resilience and other trajectories of psychological distress: A mixed-methods study of low-income mothers who survived Hurricane Katrina. Current Psychology

Lowe, S., Rhodes, J., & Waters, M. C. (2015). Understanding resilience and other trajectories of psychological distress: A mixed-methods study of low-income mothers who survived Hurricane Katrina. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 34(3), 537-550. [PDF]

Measuring exposure in Hurricane Katrina: A meta-analysis and an integrative data analysis.

Chan, C. & Rhodes, J. E. (2014). Measuring exposure in Hurricane Katrina: A meta-analysis and an integrative data analysis. PLOS ONE, 9(14), 1-15. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092899.[ PDF ]

Urban sprawl and body mass index among displaced Hurricane Katrina survivors. Preventive Medicine.

Arcaya, M., James, P., Rhodes, J. E., Waters, M. C., & Subramanian, S. V. (2014). Urban sprawl and body mass index among displaced Hurricane Katrina survivors. Preventive Medicine, 65, 40-46.[ PDF ]

The role of health in predicting moves to poor neighborhoods among Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Arcaya, M. C., Subramanian, S. V., Rhodes, J. E., & Waters, M. C. (2014). The role of health in predicting moves to poor neighborhoods among Hurricane Katrina survivors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 111(46), 16246-16253. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1416950111.[ PDF ]

Health problems among low-income parents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Lowe, S.R., Willis, M., & Rhodes,J.(2014). Health problems among low-income parents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Health Psychology, 33(8), 774-782.

Predicting Mothers’ Reports of Children’s Mental Health Three Years after Hurricane Katrina.

Lowe, S. R., Godoy, L., Rhodes, J.E, & Carter, A. (2013). Predicting Mothers’ Reports of Children’s Mental Health Three Years after Hurricane Katrina. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 34(1), 17-27. [PDF]

Trajectories of psychological distress among low-income, female survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Lowe, S. R., & Rhodes, J.E.(2013). Trajectories of psychological distress among low-income,female survivors of Hurricane Katrina. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(2-3), 398-412.[PDF]

A prospective study of religiousness and psychological distress among female survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Chan, C. S., Rhodes, J. E., & Perez, J. E. (2012). A prospective study of religiousness and psychological distress among female survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. American Journal of Community Psychology, 49(1-2), 168-181.[PDF]