Title page for ETD etd-08042007-123938

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Spell, Ann Wingate
Author's Email Address awinga1@lsu.edu
URN etd-08042007-123938
Title An Investigation of Maternal Psychopathology as a Moderator of Child Response Following Hurricane Katrina
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kelley, Mary L Committee Chair
Gouvier, William D Committee Member
Gresham, Frank M Committee Member
Noell, George Jr Committee Member
Pierce, Sarah H Dean's Representative
  • childhood trauma
  • disaster
  • Hurricane Katrina
Date of Defense 2007-05-17
Availability unrestricted
Previous disaster research has focused on possible risk factors that contribute to child psychological distress following disaster exposure. One of these factors, parental psychopathology, has consistently been indicated as associated with and predictive of child functioning post-disaster. In related areas of violence exposure, researchers have gone beyond correlation and prediction in their attempt to elucidate the relationship between parental psychopathology and child functioning post-trauma. Such researchers have investigated and confirmed parental psychopathology as a moderator variable in the relationship between child violence exposure and child functioning. Thus, in considering the status of research regarding risk factors of child functioning post-disaster and the identification of parental psychopathology as a moderator within violence exposure research, the current study attempted to elucidate this possible relationship in a disaster-exposed sample. Participants consisted of 260 children and their mothers who were displaced from New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina in the late summer of 2005. Child participants completed the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition-Self Report of Personality, the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index, and the Child Hurricane-Related Traumatic Experiences, among other questionnaires utilized for a larger grant-funded research study. Mother participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition-Parent Report Scale, the Symptom Checklist-90 Revised, and the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale, among other questionnaires utilized for a larger grant-funded research study. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that maternal psychopathology and maternal PTSD were found to


moderate the relation between child hurricane exposure and mother-reported child internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Clinical implications, future research directions, as well as the current study’s strength and limitations are discussed.

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