, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 153-161
Date: 11 Jan 2007

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

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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.