Article

Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 153-161

First online:

Depressive Symptoms among Firefighters and Related Factors after the Response to Hurricane Katrina

  • SangWoo TakAffiliated withEpidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDivision of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Email author 
  • , Richard DriscollAffiliated withDivision of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • , Bruce BernardAffiliated withDivision of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • , Christine WestAffiliated withDivision of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

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Abstract

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted an evaluation regarding physical and psychological health symptoms among New Orleans firefighters 13 weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. This report examines associations between depressive symptoms and concurrent comorbidity. Depressive symptoms were twice as likely among those with either lower respiratory symptoms or skin rash. Firefighters housed with their families were less likely to report depressive symptoms compared to those not living with their families. Perceived low supervisor support was associated with depressive symptoms, whereas participating in group counseling was not. The results underscore the need for the incorporation of physical and psychological health follow-up of emergency responders after natural disasters to better understand, monitor, and treat their health conditions.

Keywords

Depressive symptoms Disaster response Firefighters Hurricane Social support.