The psychological impact from hurricane Katrina: effects of displacement and trauma exposure on university students

Thompson E. Davis, Louisiana State University.
Amie E. Grills-Taquechel
Thomas H. Ollendick


The following study examined the reactions of university students to Hurricane Katrina. A group of 68 New Orleans area students who were displaced from their home universities as a result of the hurricane were matched on race, gender, and age to a sample of 68 students who had been enrolled at Louisiana State University (LSU) prior to the hurricane. All students were enrolled at LSU at the time they participated in an online survey, conducted 3 months following the hurricane. The survey included symptom measures of depression, anxiety, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other variables. Results indicated displaced students experienced more trauma exposure and greater subsequent distress, more symptoms of PTSD, and more symptoms of depression. Moreover, traumatic exposure and distress from the traumatic exposure were found to fully mediate depressive symptoms and posttraumatic symptoms in the displaced students.