Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



The purpose of the study was to assess predictors of family resiliency following a disaster and the relationships among them in an exploratory manner. Predictors that were assessed in the study were resource loss, prior traumatic events, cumulative stress and selected demographic characteristics. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by combining Census data with storm damage estimates and purposive sampling, 50 participants affected by Hurricane Katrina from a single suburban community in Southern Louisiana in early spring 2006 were recruited and interviewed. In late spring and summer, data collection was continued in Southwestern Louisiana and 32 rural respondents affected by Hurricane Rita were interviewed. These participants were recruited through rural and farm associations and with the aid of Cooperative Extension Service agents. The typical respondent affected by Hurricane Katrina in the study was a married, employed Caucasian female around 48 years old. The typical respondent affected by Hurricane Rita was a married, employed Caucasian female around 56 years old. Because there was no existing instrument that measures family resiliency, a multi-dimensional assessment was developed by reviewing existing instruments that measure similar constructs. Resource loss was measured by the Loss of Resource (LOR) inventory (Sattler, 2002). Prior traumatic event and cumulative stress were assessed by an instrument that was modeled after the assessment that was used in the baseline interview that was developed by Harvard Medical School’s Hurricane Advisory Group (2006). Following a frequency and reliability analysis, hypotheses were tested using correlation and regression analysis. For the Hurricane Katrina sample, higher amounts of resource loss and being female significantly predicted less family resiliency. For the Hurricane Rita sample, lower income significantly predicted less family resiliency. Results suggest that resource loss, gender, and income are important factors to consider when locating families that are more likely to be vulnerable following a disaster.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Mary Elizabeth Betsy Garrison



Included in

Human Ecology Commons