Marsee, M.A.

Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology

Published date July 21, 2008

Reactive aggression and posttraumatic stress in adolescents affected by Hurricane Katrina

  • States that researchers examining mental health problems in youth after a significant disaster have traditionally focused on the presence of internalizing problems such as anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
  • Tests a theoretical model illustrating a potential pathway to reactive aggression through exposure to Hurricane Katrina in 166 adolescents recruited from high schools on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi
  • Results support an association between exposure to Katrina and reactive aggression via posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and poorly regulated emotion
  • Finds that that girls reported experiencing more problems regulating their emotional responses than boys
  • Finds that minority participants reported experiencing higher levels of traumatic hurricane exposure, related posttraumatic stress symptoms, and direct life threat than Caucasian participants
  • Results indicate that hurricane exposure, PTSD symptoms, and poorly regulated emotion are associated with reactive aggression even after controlling for proactive aggression