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Religiousness and Psychological Distress of Women after Hurricane Katrina

January 2009

Christian S. Chan and Jean E. Rhodes, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Download 'working_paper09-03.pdf'.


This prospective study examined social support and optimism as protective pathways of influence of general religiousness on post-disaster psychological distress of women who survived Hurricane Katrina. Two questionnaires were administrated, one before and one after the disaster. Participants were 386 low-income, single mothers, predominantly Black. Results of structural equation modeling indicated that, controlling for level of exposure to the hurricanes, pre-disaster physical health, age, and number of children, pre-disaster religiousness contributed to better post-disaster psychosocial resources, which in turn were predictive of less psychological distress.

Social Welfare Programs and Policies, Urban Poverty