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Schwartz RM, Tuminello S, Kerath SM, Rios J, Lieberman-Cribbin W, Taioli E. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(5): ePub.


Center for Disaster Health, Trauma and Resilience; Mount Sinai, Stony Brook University, Northwell Health, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.


(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston, Texas on 25 August 2017, the psychological and physical effects of which are still unknown. We assessed hurricane exposure and the immediate mental health needs of the population to define public health priorities for a larger epidemiological study. Convenience sampling was used to recruit participants (n = 41) from the greater Houston area aged ≥18 years. Participants completed a questionnaire about demographics, hurricane exposures, and physical/mental health. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was measured with the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-S (PCL-S; a score ≥30 indicated probable PTSD symptoms). The Patient Health Questionnaire-4 (PHQ-4) was used to assess symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder. The average PTSD score was 32.9 (SD = 17.1); a total of 46% of participants met the threshold for probable PTSD. Increased overall hurricane exposure (adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) 1.42; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06⁻2.05) and property-related exposure (ORadj 1.53; 95% CI: 1.07⁻2.18) were both statistically significantly associated with increased odds of probable PTSD symptoms. A perception of chemical/toxin exposure due to Hurricane Harvey was reported by 44% of participants. A higher number of personal or property exposures were associated with greater mental health symptoms three weeks post-hurricane. This work has implications for the ongoing response to Hurricane Harvey and for assessing the immediate needs of the population.

Language: en


disaster; emergency response; epidemiology; extreme weather event; post-traumatic stress disorder


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