Differential post-disaster health of Vietnamese and African Americans living in adjacent communities flooded by Katrina
Objective/Purpose: Our principal objective is to measure systematic differences in well-being between Vietnamese and African Americans living in two adjacent communities in New Orleans East that were similarly flooded by Hurricane Katrina; and that had a similar socioeconomic profile before that event.
Methods: We employ data from two ongoing population-based cohort studies that include a sample of African American working age adults (the Gulf Coast Child and Family Health [GCAFH study]) and Vietnamese American working age adults (Katrina Impacts on Vietnamese-Americans [KATIVA NOLA]) living in adjacent neighborhoods in New Orleans East who were assessed near the second anniversary of the disaster.
Results: Analysis of the SF-12 data for members of these two communities living in this same section of the city and assessed at this same time point demonstrates a significant advantage in mental health status for working-age Vietnamese Americans over the comparable sample of African Americans (5.8 point advantage on the SF-12 MCS scale; p = 0.008), an effect that strengthens slightly in a model controlling for age, sex, and socioeconomic status (6.6 point advantage; p = 0.01).
Discussion/Conclusions: This significant disadvantage in post-Katrina mental health status for African Americans compared to Vietnamese Americans in adjacent communities suffering similar levels of damage in models controlling for socioeconomic status suggests a residual effect of factors related to the distinct histories, belief systems, and underlying social fabrics of these two communities.
Learning Areas:Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences
Explain how the social and geographical context can confound findings about post-disaster health. Explain how cultural attributes might affect post-disaster well-being, using a specific example.
Keyword(s): Disasters, Immigrants
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on post-disaster recovery and immigrants.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.