Age, Disruption, and Life Reorganization after Hurricane Katrina

Investigator: Vincanne Adams, PhD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute on Aging

Location(s): United States


The overall aim of this qualitative, anthropological research is to examine the process of Disruption and Life Reorganization after a disaster, namely Hurricane Katrina, for people ages 50-80. Aims are to examine how Age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health, and family relationships affects Life Reorganization after displacement, and how people adjust to unwanted, catastrophic change over time. The full range of this experience is addressed in a 48-month project by studying 180 African Americans and European Americans in two groups of 90 each who were living either below or slightly above the poverty line at the time of the disaster. Respondents will be interviewed longitudinally, with 3 interviews taking place over a one-year period. Qualitative analysis will be undertaken in a systematic progression of steps and will be supported by quantitative analysis of health measurement data, measures, and qualitatively-derived data. Relevance: The proposed study has potential for application of preventive strategies in future disasters, as well as in public health and clinical management of older people's health. Examining the process of unwanted change in later Life can provide many insights about how people deal with change, the ways they adjust and accommodate it in daily Life, and the effects of unwanted change on health and well-being.