Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of humor as a coping strategy among Hurricane Katrina survivors. The data for this study were collected in the first wave of a larger project on families and disasters. 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. When the interviews were qualitatively analyzed with a focus on humor, it became clear that families used humor even at such a devastating time. Based on a prior empirical conceptualization, five types of humor were found: language, expressive, impersonation, low humor and other orientation. The most frequent type of humor used was “language” with “expressive” humor as the second-most often used type of humor. The two new types of humor that emerged were post-disaster life and financial concerns. Because most of the families used humor in dealing with the devastation of the storm, disaster management professionals, including relief workers, should at the very least expect humor and might even encourage it depending on the situation.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Garrison, Mary Elizabeth



Included in

Human Ecology Commons