Religion and Coping with Trauma: Qualitative Examples from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Christina Tausch, Louisiana State University.
Loren D. Marks
Jennifer Silva Brown
Katie E. Cherry
Tracey Frias
Zia McWilliams
Miranda Melancon
Diane D. Sasser


In this article, we consider the intersection of religious coping and the experience of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in a lifespan sample of adults living in South Louisiana during the 2005 storms. Participants were young, middle-age, older, and oldest-old adults who were interviewed during the post-disaster recovery period. Qualitative analyses confirmed that three dimensions of religion were represented across participants' responses. These dimensions included: 1) faith community, in relation to the significant relief effort and involvement of area churches; 2) religious practices, in the sense of participants' behavioral responses to the storms, such as prayer; and c) spiritual beliefs, referring to faith as a mechanism underlying individual and family-level adjustment, acceptance and personal growth in the post-disaster period. Implications for future disaster preparedness are considered.