Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The research presented in this dissertation assesses the social impacts of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon (BP-DH) oil spill in South Louisiana. The coastal region affected by this disaster is made up of rural communities whose residents rely on the Gulf of Mexico and its resources for their livelihoods. Understanding how this disaster has impacted the general quality of life in spill-affected communities, and how community characteristics have influenced vulnerability and resilience to negative outcomes, has important implications for basic and applied research and public policy. To examine these issues I use one-of-a-kind household survey data from the Community Oil Spill Survey (COSS) that includes a variety of measures indexing community sentiment, social vulnerability, physical health, mental health, disruptions to normal routines, economic impacts on households, and so forth. These data provide a novel opportunity to examine how the adaptive capacities of communities shape population wellness in a disaster context. This study is grounded in literatures that emphasizes the role of emplaced local community conditions for shaping ways in which people experience and interpret hazards, risks and disasters. Specifically, I assess the social vulnerability of residents of coastal communities in Southeast Louisiana which were directly affected by the BP-DH oil spill. The aim of the project is threefold: 1) to identify the nature and extent to which the oil spill impacted residents’ sentiment about their communities; 2) to investigate the variation in community level vulnerability and resilience in the wake of the disaster; and 3) to assess impacts to mental well-being tied to the loss of—or damage to—key resources upon which the victim is reliant.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Slack, Tim



Included in

Sociology Commons