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.

Related Articles


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 March 5, 2015 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 March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Keurig Co-Founder Says Company Has A Waste Problem

Keurig Co-Founder Says Company Has A Waste Problem

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — Keurig co-founder John Sylvan told The Atlantic he doesn&apos;t even own a Keurig because they&apos;re too expensive and produce too much waste. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) — Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Injured Miners Treated After Blast

Raw: Injured Miners Treated After Blast

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) — An explosion ripped through a coal mine before dawn Wednesday in war-torn eastern Ukraine, killing at least one miner, officials said. Graphic video of injured miners being treated in a Donetsk hospital. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) — The Australian Museum has taken in its fourth-ever goblin shark, a rare fish with an electricity-sensing snout and &apos;alien-like&apos; jaw. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) takes a look. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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