The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Socioeconomic Disparities in Alcohol Use

Magdalena Cerda, University of Michigan
Jennifer Dowd, University of Michigan
Melissa Tracy, University of Michigan
Emily Goldmann, University of Michigan
Katherine McGonagle, University of Michigan
Frank Stafford, University of Michigan
Sandro Galea, University of Michigan

Hurricane Katrina was, in terms of death toll and economic impact, the single most important natural disaster to hit the United States in the past 75 years. In this study, we will investigate (1) socioeconomic differences in alcohol consumption in the Gulf Coast area before and after Hurricane Katrina, (2) explanations for differences in the socioeconomic gradients of alcohol consumption before and after Hurricane Katrina, including differential exposure to the disaster and its consequences. We will use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) collected in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama (n=555), including: 1) PSID data from 1968-2007 to measure socioeconomic trajectories; 2) PSID data from 1999-2007 on alcohol use trajectories; and 3) data from a supplemental PSID module used in 2007 to measure exposure to the Hurricane. This study presents a critical opportunity to examine how experiences of disaster events can exacerbate social and economic disparities in health.

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Presented in Session 114: Mental Health Consequences of Hurricane Katrina on Affected Populations