Advertisement

Faith, Crisis, Coping, and Meaning Making After Katrina: A Qualitative, Cross-Cohort Examination

  • Loren D. Marks
  • Katie E. Cherry
  • Jennifer L. Silva
Chapter

Abstract

Very few studies in the disaster literature include elderly adults, whose life experiences, perceptions, and spiritual needs in the post-disaster period may markedly differ in comparison to younger cohorts. In this 3, we address the topic of how young, middle age, older, and oldest-old adults coped with and made meaning of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita during the storms and their aftermath. The individuals who provided the qualitative interviews upon which this chapter is based were enrolled in the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study (LHAS), a multidisciplinary study of the determinants of longevity and healthy aging (see Cherry, Silva, & Galea,  Chapter 9 of this volume). We begin this chapter by presenting three central themes to contextualize our findings. These themes include (1) crisis, in the sense of a significant, developmental turning point (cf. Erikson E.H., 1998); (2) coping, a behavioral response to stressful events; and (3) meaning making, which pertains to an individual’s unique interpretation of an event and attributions for why it happened. We describe the sample, interview procedures, coding process, and emergent themes arising from the qualitative interviews. Implications for adjustment, acceptance, and personal growth in the post-disaster period are considered.

Keywords

Young Cohort Baton Rouge Emergent Theme Coping Resource Meaning Making 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgment

We thank Tracey Frias, Miranda Melancon, and Zia McWilliams for their assistance with data summary and qualitative analyses. We also thank M.E. Betsy Garrison for her helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

This research was supported by grants from the Louisiana Board of Regents through the Millennium Trust Health Excellence Fund [HEF(2001-06)-02] and the National Institute on Aging P01 AG022064. This support is gratefully acknowledged.

References

  1. Bacher, R., Devlin, T., Calongne, K., Duplechain, J., & Pertuit, S. (2005). LSU in the eye of the storm: A university model for disaster response. Available at http://www.lsu.edu/pa/book/EYEofTheSTORMtxt.pdf
  2. Boss, P. (2002). Family stress management. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Brokaw, T. (2004). The greatest generation. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  4. Cherry, K. E. (2006, August). Effects of hurricanes Katrina/Rita on the oldest-old. In P. Dass-Brailsford (Chair), Intersecting dimensions of multicultural issues in disaster response: Aging, disability, ethnicity and SES. Invited symposium presented at the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association, New Orleans, Louisiana.Google Scholar
  5. Cherry, K. E., Allen, P. D., & Galea, S. (2009). Older adults and natural disasters: Lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In P. Dass-Brailsford (Ed.), Crisis and disaster counseling: Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (in press).Google Scholar
  6. Cherry, K. E., Galea, S., & Silva, J. L. (2008). Successful aging and natural disasters:  Role of adaptation and resiliency in late life. In M. Hersen & A. M. Gross (Eds.), Handbook of clinical psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 810–833). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
  7. Cherry, K. E., Galea, S., Su, L. J., Welsh, D. A., Jazwinski, S. M., Silva, J. L., et al. (2009). Cognitive and psychosocial consequences of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on middle aged, older, and oldest-old adults in the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study (LHAS) (in press).Google Scholar
  8. Corey, M. S., & Corey, G. (2003). Becoming a helper (4th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  9. Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  10. Erikson, E. H. (1998). The life cycle completed. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  11. Erikson, J. M. (1998). Gerotranscendence. In E. H. Erikson (Ed.), The life cycle completed (pp. 123–129). New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  12. Fosdick, H. E. (1918). The meaning of faith. New York: Association Press.Google Scholar
  13. Frankl, V. (1984). Man’s search for meaning. New York: Washington Street Press.Google Scholar
  14. Garrison, M. E., Malia, J. A., & Molgaard, V. K. (1991). Conceptual and theoretical integration of family resource management theory and family stress theory. Themis: Journal of Theory in Home Economics, 1, 1–17.Google Scholar
  15. Gilbert, D. (2006). Stumbling on happiness. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  16. Hill, R. (1949). Families under stress: Adjustment to the crisis of war separation and reunion. New York: Harper and Brothers.Google Scholar
  17. Ingoldsby, B., Smith, S., & Miller, J. E. (2004). Exploring family theories. New York: Roxbury.Google Scholar
  18. Koos, E. L. (1946). Families in trouble. New York: Kings Crown Press.Google Scholar
  19. LaRossa, R., & Reitzes, D. C. (1993). Symbolic interactionism and family studies. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, & S. K. Steinmetz (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theories and methods: A contextual approach (pp. 135–163). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marks, L. D. (2002). Illuminating the interface between families and face. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Delaware, Newark.Google Scholar
  21. Marks, L. D., Nesteruk, O., Swanson, M., Garrison, M. E. B., & Davis, T. (2005). Religion and health among African Americans: A qualitative examination. Research on Aging, 27,447–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marks, L. D., Swanson, M., Nesteruk, O., & Hopkins-Williams, K. (2006). Stressors in African American marriages and families: A qualitative study. Stress, Trauma, and Crisis: An International Journal, 9, 203–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Menaghan, E. G. (1983). Individual coping efforts: Moderators of the relationship between life stress and mental health outcomes. In H. B. Kaplan (Ed.), Psychosocial stress: Trends in theory and research (pp. 157–192). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  24. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Myerhoff, B. (1980). Number our days. New York: Touchstone.Google Scholar
  26. Nesteruk, O., & Garrison, M. E. B. (2005). An exploratory study of the relationship between family daily hassles and family coping and managing strategies. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 34, 140–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pargament, K. I. (1997). The psychology of religion and coping: Theory, research, and practice. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  28. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Rose, C. (2007). 1 dead in attic: After Katrina. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  30. Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  31. Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 5–14.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Silk, M., & Walsh, A. (2006). Religion by region: Religion and public life in the United States. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: AltaMira.Google Scholar
  33. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Taylor, S. E., Falke, R. L., Shoptaw, S. J., & Lichtman, R. R. (1986). Social support, support groups, and the cancer patient. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 608–615.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Thomas, W. I., & Zaniecki, F. (1920). The Polish peasant in Europe and America. Boston, MA: Badger.Google Scholar
  36. Webster’s New World Dictionary. (1991, 3rd ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  37. Wood, J. V., Taylor, S. E., & Lichtman (1985). Social comparison and adjustment to breast cancer. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1169–1183.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loren D. Marks
    • 1
  • Katie E. Cherry
    • 2
  • Jennifer L. Silva
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Family, Child and Consumer Sciences, School of Human Ecology and Life Course and Aging CenterLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

Personalised recommendations