Title page for ETD etd-11012010-125011

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Baumeister, Audrey
Author's Email Address audreylynnbau@hotmail.com
URN etd-11012010-125011
Title Examination of the Relationship Between Academic Achievement and Traumatic Stress Following Hurricane Katrina
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kelley, Mary Lou Committee Chair
Arbuthnot, Keena Committee Member
Gouvier, William D Committee Member
Gresham, Frank Committee Member
Matthews, Russell Committee Member
  • hurricane
  • academic achievement
  • trauma
Date of Defense 2010-10-26
Availability unrestricted
Hurricane Katrina inflicted traumatic experiences on many children in New Orleans and the surrounding area. The literature has shown a significant relationship between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms and lowered academic achievement in children. This longitudinal study investigated the relationships between attendance, academic achievement, and PTSD symptoms following Hurricane Katrina. Participants were 343 mother-child dyads recruited from public and private schools within Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, and East Baton Rouge Parish 4-7 months following Hurricane Katrina. Children completed the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index, the BASC-2 Self Report of Personality, and the Hurricane-Related Traumatic Experiences (HURTE). Mothers completed the Childhood Routines Inventory and a demographic questionnaire. Finally, children’s test scores from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program were collected. Hierarchical regression

analyses revealed that PTSD symptom severity following Hurricane Katrina was negatively correlated with post-storm achievement after accounting for pre-storm achievement and attendance. PTSD symptom severity was not a significant predictor of post-storm attendance after accounting for pre-storm attendance. Inattention/Hyperactivity served as a mediator between PTSD symptom severity and achievement in one of the three measured years (2008). Finally, pre-storm academic achievement did not serve as a moderator in the relationship between hurricane exposure and PTSD symptom severity. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.

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