HealthcareNew study links repeated hurricane exposure to adverse psychological...

New study links repeated hurricane exposure to adverse psychological symptoms


hurricane
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Repeated exposure to hurricanes, whether direct, indirect or media-based, is linked to adverse psychological symptoms and may be associated with increased mental health problems, according to a first-of-its kind study led by University of California, Irvine researchers.

Findings, published online today in JAMA Network Open, are critical for understanding the psychological impacts of recurring natural disasters, particularly in the context of the escalating threat of climate change. Rather than individuals becoming acclimated to repeated exposure to disasters, results demonstrated that over time, responses to subsequent hurricanes become more negative.

“We show that people are not likely to habituate, or get used to, climate-related natural disasters that will increase in frequency and severity in the years to come. Our results suggest a potential mental health crisis associated with those who themselves directly experienced the storm or knew someone who did, as well as those who spent several hours engaged with media about the hurricane,” said Dana Rose Garfin, UCI assistant adjunct professor of nursing and , and first author of the report.

The first-of-its-kind longitudinal study was conducted by Garfin and her colleagues, Roxane Cohen Silver, Distinguished Professor of psychological science, medicine and health; E. Alison Holman, professor of nursing; both from UCI and principal investigators of the research; Rebecca Thompson, Ph.D., UCI postdoctoral scholar in ; and Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, Ph.D., assistant earth system science professor, and center fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University. The team assessed Florida residents in the hours before Hurricane Irma made landfall and examined those same individuals again following Hurricanes Irma and Michael to detect any mental health changes that might have occurred over time. Both were Category 5 storms that hit in succession—Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and Hurricane Michael in October 2018.

The team found that repeated exposure to the threat of catastrophic hurricanes was linked to symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and ongoing fear and worry. In turn, these psychological symptoms were associated with greater social- and work-related impairment, including difficulty interacting with others, and performing work tasks and other daily activities.

“Some distress is normal following traumatic and extremely stressful events,” Garfin said. “Most people will recover and display resilience over time. However, as climate-related catastrophic hurricanes and other such as wildfires and heat waves escalate, this natural healing process may be disrupted by repeated threat exposure. Moreover, we followed people longitudinally over two seasons, and our data show that as people experience multiple occurrences over time, psychological symptoms accumulate and intensify, potentially portending a mental health crisis.”

Anxiety can be an adaptive response to disasters and may motivate people to take protective action in preparation for the next event, team members said, and recommend that future research explore how to leverage that reaction in ways that do not increase mental health ailments. They also believe the strong link between media engagement and distress suggests that social channels and mainstream outlets can play a critical role in effectively communicating the risk of increased distress with repeated threat exposure.


Research reveals how experience with climate-related disasters affects willingness to take and accept protective actions


More information:
Dana Rose Garfin et al, Association Between Repeated Exposure to Hurricanes and Mental Health in a Representative Sample of Florida Residents, JAMA Network Open (2022). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.17251

Citation:
New study links repeated hurricane exposure to adverse psychological symptoms (2022, June 16)
retrieved 16 June 2022
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-links-hurricane-exposure-adverse-psychological.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.





Original Source Link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

CommonSpirit Health loses near $2B in 2022

CommonSpirit Health reported a $1.85 billion net loss for fiscal 2022 and closed out the year with a -3.8%...

House Republicans Use Russian Video To Unveil Their Agenda For America

House Republicans are using Russian stock footage to promote their midterm election agenda for America. Jennifer Bendery of HuffPost...

50 million tons of water vapor from Tonga’s eruption could warm Earth for years

More than eight months after the underwater volcano near Tonga erupted on Jan. 14, scientists are still analyzing...

Crypto Real Estate Sales Are Officially Here, But Will They Last?

With the arrival of Bitcoin in 2009 and subsequent blockchain currencies, conversations about crypto real estate immediately followed,...

Weekly News Quiz: September 22, 2022

From July 2021 to June...

Does Zac Efron Owe Us The Truth? | Perez Hilton

I don’t expect honesty here. U? Watch! Enjoy! SHARE! The post Does Zac Efron Owe Us The Truth? | Perez Hilton...

Must Read

How ghostly neutrinos could explain the universe’s matter mystery

The answer to one of the greatest mysteries...

Five Things Every Biohacker’s Home Needs From Dave Asprey’s 2022 Biohacking Conference

While many people associate biohacking with taking vitamins...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you