Helping Families and Communities Recover From Disaster: Lessons Learned From Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Central Gulf Coast region of the United States. The storm and its aftermath resulted in the most severe, damaging, and costly natural and unnatural disaster in the nation's history—as evidenced by the size of the region affected, the loss of life, the extensive destruction of property, and the thousands displaced.
Over 2 years post-disaster, many families lived in temporary housing and had limited access to basic services; to date, many continue to struggle to meet basic needs. Furthermore, the mental health needs of many survivors remain largely unmet—and disproportionately so for marginalized, disenfranchised segments of the affected population.
The magnitude of Hurricane Katrina and the associated shortcomings in disaster planning and relief interventions have provided mental health and social service professionals, as well as policy makers, with critical information for the improved handling of future disasters.
The present volume examines key "lessons learned" and offers a blueprint for better meeting the needs of children, families, and communities post-disaster through well-timed, targeted responses and interventions.
Broadly guided by a bioecological framework, it
highlights significant issues in post-disaster work;
considers the range of risks, resources, and factors related to post-disaster adaptation;
emphasizes community-level provision of resources, services, and supports; and
provides actionable recommendations and practical applications for future disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
The editors' and contributors' experiences with children, caregivers, educators, and practitioners in Louisiana and Mississippi lend a compassionate perspective to the analysis of research and further underscore the significance of the recommendations put forth.
Introduction: Attending to Ecology
—Ryan P. Kilmer and Virginia Gil-Rivas
- Supporting Children After Hurricane Katrina: Reflections on Psychosocial Principles in Practice
—Leslie Snider, Yael Hoffman, Megan Littrell, M. Whitney Fry, and Mya Thornburgh
I. Postdisaster Adjustment of Families Affected by Hurricane Katrina: Risks, Resources, and Factors Influencing Adaptation
- The Caregiver–Child Relationship and Children's Adjustment Following Hurricane Katrina
—Virginia Gil-Rivas, Ryan P. Kilmer, Annada W. Hypes, and Katherine A. Roof
- The Effects of Parenting Behavior on Children's Mental Health After Hurricane Katrina: Preliminary Findings
—Mary Lou Kelley, Jennette L. Palcic, Julia F. Vigna, Jing Wang, Annie W. Spell, Angie Pellegrin, Karen L. Davidson, Shannon Self-Brown, and Kenneth J. Ruggiero
- Family Resilience and Resiliency Following Hurricane Katrina
—Robin Knowles, Diane D. Sasser, and M. E. Betsy Garrison
- Consequences for Classroom Environments and School Personnel: Evaluating Katrina's Effect on Schools and System Response
—Teresa K. Buchanan, Renée M. Casbergue, and Jennifer J. Baumgartner
II. Assessing Need and Facilitating Community Response: Resources, Services, and Supports
- Service Needs of Children and Families Affected by Hurricane Katrina
—Ariana Shahinfar, Tanya Vishnevsky, Ryan P. Kilmer, and Virginia Gil-Rivas
- Implications of Major Disaster for Educators, Administrators, and School-Based Mental Health Professionals Needs, Actions, and the Example of Mayfair Elementary
—Ryan P. Kilmer, Virginia Gil-Rivas, and Jacqueline MacDonald
- Social and Community Responses: Assessing Relationships Among Environmental Supports in Child and Caregiver Adjustment Following a Hurricane
—R. Enrique Varela, Lauren Hensley-Maloney, and Eric M. Vernberg
- The Roles of Faith-Based Organizations After Hurricane Katrina
—Brenda Phillips and Pamela Jenkins
III. What Lessons Have Been Learned? Conclusions, Implications, and Recommendations
- The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: Mental Health Considerations and Lessons Learned
—Joy D. Osofsky, Howard J. Osofsky, Mindy Kronenberg, and Tonya Cross Hansel
- Community Resilience and Wellness for the Children Exposed to Hurricane Katrina
—Betty Pfefferbaum, Rose L. Pfefferbaum, and Fran H. Norris
- Lessons Learned From Katrina and Other Devastating Hurricanes: Steps Necessary for Adequate Preparedness, Response, and Intervention
—Wendy K. Silverman, Andrea Allen, and Claudio D. Ortiz
Epilogue: Meeting the Needs of Children, Families, and Communities Following Disaster
—Ryan P. Kilmer and Virginia Gil-Rivas
About the Editors
Ryan P. Kilmer, PhD, is associate professor of psychology and Bonnie E. Cone Early-Career Professor in Teaching at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A child clinical–community psychologist, his research interests center on children and families, particularly risk and resilience; youngsters' adjustment to trauma; and the use of evaluation research to guide system change, program refinement, and service delivery.
Virginia Gil-Rivas, PhD, is associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A developmental health psychologist, her research interests include the interactive effects of social, cognitive, and emotional factors on adaptation in the aftermath of major life events across the life span and the design, implementation, and evaluation of developmentally and culturally appropriate prevention and treatment efforts.
Richard G. Tedeschi, PhD, is professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A licensed psychologist specializing in bereavement and trauma, he has consulted for the American Psychological Association regarding trauma and resilience and recently published the Handbook of Posttraumatic Growth: Research and Practice, with Lawrence Calhoun. Drs. Tedeschi and Calhoun have also coauthored Trauma and Transformation: Growing in the Aftermath of Suffering, Posttraumatic Growth: Positive Changes in the Aftermath of Crisis, Facilitating Posttraumatic Growth: A Clinician's Guide, and Helping Bereaved Parents: A Clinician's Guide.
Lawrence G. Calhoun, PhD, is professor of psychology at University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a licensed psychologist. His scholarly activities focus on the responses of persons encountering major life crises, particularly posttraumatic growth, and he is the coauthor or coeditor of several books, including Posttraumatic Growth: Positive Changes in the Aftermath of Crisis, Facilitating Posttraumatic Growth: A Clinician's Guide, Helping Bereaved Parents: A Clinician's Guide, and the Handbook of Posttraumatic Growth: Research and Practice.
Endorsements for the Book
Using Hurricane Katrina as a case study to consider the issues raised by disaster, this volume thoroughly address the ways in which communities and families — women and children in particular — adjust to events of such magnitude. The researchers maintain cultural competency in their inquiries, and put forth quantitative and qualitative data in order to contextualize useful frameworks for understanding the individual and community responses of diverse populations following disaster…Intended for policy makers and professionals, scholars, and graduate students in mental health and social services, this volume serves invaluable information to those dedicated to understanding the intersectional realities of both natural and human-made disaster as they play out on the terrain of human adaptability and resiliency.
The Journal of Trauma and Dissociation
This book provides an invaluable resource on how communities can rebound from disaster, including a mix of new data on specific groups of affected individuals, descriptions of programs and service systems that are part of the recovery process, and information from experts drawn from prior disasters. Authored by key contributors to the mental health and community recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina, the book will serve as a crucial resource for the future: It documents the challenges and successes following Hurricane Katrina and shows the way forward following future disasters.
Lisa H. Jaycox, PhD, Senior Behavioral Scientist and Clinical Psychologist, RAND Corporation, Arlington, VA
This collection on Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive, scholarly, indispensable source of information on large-scale disasters and recovery from mass trauma. The book, which is an effective blend of theoretical issues and empirical findings, is also noteworthy for pointing out lessons learned and for compiling practical recommendations. This timely, much-needed, state-of the-art book is invaluable for understanding the experiences and needs of children, their families, and mental heath service providers (including mental health professionals and community health care and relief workers) and, hence, for informing policymaking and future research in the field of community disasters.
Avigdor Klingman, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Counseling and Development, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel