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ERIC Number: EJ892069
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-006X
Pre-Hurricane Perceived Social Support Protects against Psychological Distress: A Longitudinal Analysis of Low-Income Mothers
Lowe, Sarah R.; Chan, Christian S.; Rhodes, Jean E.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v78 n4 p551-560 Aug 2010
Objective: In this study, we examined the influence of pre-disaster perceived social support on post-disaster psychological distress among survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Method: Participants (N = 386) were low-income mothers between 18 and 34 years of age at baseline (M = 26.4, SD = 4.43). The majority (84.8%) was African American; 10.4% identified as Caucasian, 3.2% identified as Hispanic, and 1.8% identified as other. Participants were enrolled in an educational intervention study in 2004 and 2005. Those who had completed a 1-year follow-up assessment prior to Hurricane Katrina were reassessed approximately 1 year after the hurricane. Measures of perceived social support and psychological distress were included in pre- and post-disaster assessments. Using structural equation modeling and multiple mediator analysis, we tested a model wherein pre-disaster perceived social support predicted post-disaster psychological distress both directly and indirectly through its effects on pre-disaster psychological distress, exposure to hurricane-related stressors, and post-disaster perceived social support. We predicted that higher pre-disaster perceived social support would be predictive of lower pre-disaster psychological distress, lower hurricane-related stressors, and higher post-disaster perceived social support, and that these variables would, in turn, predict lower post-disaster psychologically distress. Results: Our analyses provide partial support for the hypothesized model. Although pre-disaster perceived social support did not exert a direct effect on post-disaster psychological distress, the indirect effects of all 3 proposed mediators were significant. Conclusions: Pre-disaster social support can decrease both exposure to natural disasters and the negative psychological effects of natural disaster exposure. These findings underscore the importance of bolstering the post-disaster social support networks of low-income mothers. (Contains 2 figures, 1 footnote and 2 tables.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana