Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hurricane Katrina: Why Some People Stayed Behind

Date:
July 3, 2009
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Hurricane Katrina was the largest natural disaster in US history, claiming the lives of more than 1,800 victims and causing well over $100 billion in damage along the Gulf Coast. The 2005 storm breached every levee in New Orleans, flooding almost the entire city as well as the neighboring parishes. Yet a surprising number of people stayed behind and rode out the storm.

Hurricane Katrina was the largest natural disaster in U.S. history, claiming the lives of more than 1,800 victims and causing well over $100 billion in damage along the Gulf Coast. The 2005 storm breached every levee in New Orleans, flooding almost the entire city as well as the neighboring parishes. Yet a surprising number of people stayed behind and rode out the storm.

The general public, members of the media and government officials made instant analyses and character judgments of the people of New Orleans. But few people asked the residents themselves until recently. Stanford University psychologist Nicole Stephens and her colleagues decided to compare the views of outside observers with the perspectives of the New Orleans residents who actually rode out Katrina.

The researchers conducted two surveys, one of observers and one of survivors. Observers were asked how they perceived survivors who left and those who did not, and survivors were asked to describe their own hurricane-related experiences. The study of observers—including a large group of relief workers, firefighters, and physicians—perceived those who evacuated their homes as more self-reliant and hardworking. Those who stayed, however, were described as careless, passive, depressed and hopeless even though the observers were well aware that these residents lacked the resources to leave (money, transportation, out-of-town relatives).

When the psychologists surveyed actual Katrina survivors, they found that those who stayed behind did not feel powerless or passive. On the contrary, they saw themselves as connected with their neighbors, more communitarian than independent from others. Their stories emphasized their faith in God and their feelings of caring for others.

The psychologists also took detailed measures of all the survivors' well-being—their mood, life satisfaction, mental health, drug and alcohol use. As they report in a recent issue of Psychological Science, there were no significant differences between those who stayed in New Orleans and those who left. It seems their different "choices" did not reflect differences in well-being.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Why Did They 'Choose' to Stay? Perspectives of Hurricane Katrina Observers and Survivors. Psychological Science, July 2009

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Hurricane Katrina: Why Some People Stayed Behind." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702110501.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2009, July 3). Hurricane Katrina: Why Some People Stayed Behind. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702110501.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Hurricane Katrina: Why Some People Stayed Behind." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702110501.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins