Effects of a major U.S. Hurricane on mental health disorder symptoms among adolescent and young adult females

Jacqueline Hirth, Ophra Leyser-Whalen, Abbey Berenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examines the effects of Hurricane Ike-related damage, job loss, injury, and mortality of friends and family on mental health symptoms among affected young women and adolescents. Methods: Data from a cross-sectional, self-administered survey of 2,536 young women aged 16-24 years affected by Hurricane Ike was examined. Poisson regression estimated the effect of types of hurricane-related damage, job loss, injury, and mortality of family or friends on depressive and hurricane-related post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Results: Nearly half (46.3%) of the respondents suffered damage, and 13% lost jobs as a result of Ike. Hurricane-related damage, job loss, injury to self, and injury to and mortality of friends or family were associated with increased Ike-related post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Damage and job loss were also associated with increased depressive symptoms. Conclusion: Accessible mental health services and plans to reduce job loss among adolescents and those they depend on for income are needed in areas affected by hurricanes to help mitigate psychological consequences among low-income young women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-772
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013



  • Depression
  • Hurricane-related damage
  • Hurricane-related job loss
  • Mental health symptoms
  • Natural disaster
  • PTSD
  • Women's mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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