Hurricane Katrina: Maternal Depression Trajectories and Child Outcomes

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BACKGROUND: The authors examined depression trajectories over two years among mothers exposed to Hurricane Katrina. Risk and protective factors for depression trajectories, as well as associations with child outcomes were analyzed. METHOD: This study included 283 mothers (age at time 1, = 39.20 years, = 7.21; 62% African American). Mothers were assessed at four time points over two years following Hurricane Katrina. Mothers reported posttraumatic stress symptoms, hurricane exposure, traumatic life events, and social support at time 1. Depressive symptoms were modeled at times 2, 3, and 4. Youth reported their distress symptoms (posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety) at time 4. RESULTS: Latent class growth analyses identified three maternal depression trajectories among mothers exposed to Hurricane Katrina: low (61%), resilient (29%), and chronic (10%). Social support was identified as a protective factor among mothers. CONCLUSIONS: Three main trajectories of maternal depression following Hurricane Katrina were identified. Social support was protective for mothers. Identified trajectories were not associated with children's distress outcomes. These results have implications for disaster responses, screening efforts, and interventions targeted towards families. Future studies warrant the investigation of additional risk and protective factors that can affect maternal and child outcomes.

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Current psychology (New Brunswick, N.J.)

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