Predicting Levels of Post-Disaster Stress in Adults Following the 1993 Floods in the Upper Midwest

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Studies of mental health have indicated that the stress associated with living in hazardous areas is related, in part, to economic status, gender, kinship relationships, physical health, sociopsychological traits, community structure, and familiarity or experience with the hazard. This research modeled stress variability as manifested through expressed levels of anxiety, depression, and day-to-day function-ability in a flood-prone environment. A telephone questionnaire was used to collect data from adult flood victims in a medium-size midwestern town, 3 months after the floods of 1993, as part of a comprehensive survey of how stress fluctuates over time. Standard measures of anxiety, depression, and stress were incorporated into the survey instrument for comparison purposes. A large percentage (71%) of respondents displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Traditional predictors were not significant, for stress symptoms appeared equally across gender, income, and age stratifications. The results showed that previous health conditions, particularly anxiety, employment status, and propensity to interpret the flood negatively were significant predictors for high levels of post disaster stress.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Environment and Behavior, v. 28, issue 3, p. 340-357