Advertisement

Encounters with Katrina: Dynamics of Older Adults’ Social Support Networks

  • Karen A. Roberto
  • Yoshinori Kamo
  • Tammy Henderson
Chapter

Abstract

Hurricane Katrina forced the evacuation of thousands of people from the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast. Storm-displaced older adults faced many challenges during the evacuation process and in the months that followed. In this chapter we examine the dynamics of displaced older adults’ social networks during the evacuation and post-Katrina events. We begin with a brief review of the literature on social support in late life, with emphasis on social support in times of disaster. In the next section, we present findings from a mixed method study conducted in the post-Katrina immediate impact period. Qualitative analyses of interviews with storm-displaced older persons provide new evidence concerning reliance on others for help and emotional support as they faced the aftermath of the storm. We also examined their perceptions of the availability of network members to provide future assistance and support as they rebuild their lives. Implications of these findings for developing effective evacuation strategies and meeting the social and emotional needs of storm-displaced older adults during the recovery period are considered.

Keywords

Emotional Support Community Service Network Member Baton Rouge Evacuation Process 
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

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation (Grant # 0650909), cooperation by local churches, New Orleans Council on Aging, East Baton Rouge Council on Aging, Council on Aging in St. Tammany, and the Governor’s Office on Elderly Affairs, and the assistance of numerous students at each of our respective universities.

References

  1. Anfara, V. A., Brown, K. M., & Mangione, T. L. (2002). Qualitative analysis on stage: Making the research process more public. Educational Researcher, 31, 28–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antonucci, T. C. (2001). Social relations: An examination of social networks, social support, and sense of control. In J. E. Birren & K. W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (5th ed., pp. 427–453). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  3. Antonucci, T. C., & Akiyama, H. (1995). Convoys of social relations: Family and friendships within a life span context. In R. Blieszner & V. H. Bedford (Eds.), Handbook of aging and the family (pp. 355–371). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  4. Arbore, P. (2007). Why do elders resist evacuation when natural disasters strike? Healthcare and aging. Retrieved August 25, 2008, from http://www.asaging.org/asav2/ han/enews/07winter/psych_issues.cfm
  5. Baldwin, J. A., & Hopkins, R. (1990). African-American and European-American cultural differences as assessed by the Worldviews Paradigm: An empirical analysis. Western Journal of Black Studies, 14, 38–52.Google Scholar
  6. Barrera, M. (1986). Distinctions between social support concepts, measures, and models. American Journal of Community Psychology, 14, 413–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benson, W. F., & Aldrich, N. (2007). CDC’s disaster planning goal: Protect vulnerable older adults. Washington, DC: CDC Healthy Aging Program.Google Scholar
  8. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psychology, 22, 723–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Campbell, J. (2006). On belonging and belongings: Older adults, Katrina, and lessons learned. Generations, 31, 75–78.Google Scholar
  10. Chatters, L. M., Taylor, R. J., & Jayakody, R. (1994). Fictive kinship relations in Black extended families. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 25, 297–312.Google Scholar
  11. Cherry, K. E., Galea, S., & Silva, J. L. (2008). Successful aging in very old adults: Resiliency in the face of natural disaster. In M. Hersen & A. M. Gross (Eds.), Handbook of Clinical Psychology: Volume 1 (pp. 810–833). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  12. Collins, P. H. (1991). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Davey, A., Femia, E. F., Zarit, S. H., Shea, D. G., Sundström, G., Berg, S., et al. (2005). Life on the edge: Patterns of formal and informal help to older adults in the United States and Sweden. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 60, S281–S288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dyer, C., Festa, N. A., Cloyd, B., Regev, M., Schwartzberg, J. G., James, J., et al. (2006). Recommendation for best practices in the management of elderly disaster victims. Houston: Baylor College of Medicine and the American Medical Association.Google Scholar
  15. Elder, G. (1977). Family history and the life course. Journal of Family History, 2, 279–304.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Elliott, J. R., & Pais, J. (2006). Race, class, and Hurricane Katrina: Social differences in human responses to disaster. Social Science Research, 35, 295–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fairchild, A. L., Colgrove, J., & Jones, M. M. (2006). The challenge of mandatory evacuation: Providing for and deciding for. Health Affairs, 25(4), 958–967.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Franklin, J. H. (2007). A historical note on Black families. In H. P. McAdoo (Ed.), Black families (4th ed., pp. 3–6). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. George, L. K. (2006). Perceived quality of life. In R. H. Binstock & L. K. George (Eds.), Handbook of aging and the social sciences (6th ed., pp. 321–336). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Gibson, M. J. (2006). We can do better: Lessons learned for protecting older persons in disasters. Washington, DC: American Association of Retired Persons.Google Scholar
  21. Green, B. L., Lindy, J. D., Grace, M. C., Gleser, G. C., Leonard, A. C., Korol, M., et al. (1990). Buffalo Creek survivors in the second decade: Stability of stress symptoms. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60, 43–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. hooks, B. (1984). Feminist theory: From margin to center. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hurlbert, J., Beggs, J., & Haines, V. (2000). Social networks and social capital in extreme environments. In N. Lin, K. Cook, & R. Burt (Eds.), Social capital: Theory and research (pp. 209–231). New York: Aldine DeGruyter.Google Scholar
  24. Johnson, C. L. (1999). Fictive kin among oldest old African Americans in the San Francisco Bay area. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 54B, S368–S375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Johnson, C. L. (2000). Perspectives on American kinship in the later 1990s. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 623–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2006). Voices of the storm: Health experiences of low-income Katrina survivors. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from, http://www.kff.org/uninsured/7538.cfm
  27. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2007). Giving voice to the people of New Orleans: The Kaiser Post-Katrina baseline survey. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from, http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/7631.cfm
  28. Kaniasty, K., & Norris, F. H. (1993). A test of the social support deterioration model in the context of a natural disaster. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 395–408.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Knight, B. G., Gatz, M., Heller, K., & Bengtson V. L. (2000). Age and emotional response to the Northridge earthquake: A longitudinal analysis. Psychology and Aging, 15, 627–634.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Krause, N. (2001). Social support. In R. H. Binstock & L. K. George (Eds.), Handbook of aging and the social sciences (5th ed., pp. 273–294). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  31. Krause, N. (2002). Exploring race differences in a comprehensive battery of church-based social support measures. Review of Religious Research, 44, 126–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lee, E.-K. O. L., & Sharpe, T. (2007). Understanding religious/spiritual coping and support resources among African American older adults: A mixed-method approach. Journal of Religion, Spirituality, and Aging, 19(3), 55–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Miner, S. (1995). Racial differences in family support and formal service utilization among older persons: A nonrecursive model. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 50B,S143–S153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Norris, F. H., Byrne, C. M., Diaz, E., & Kaniasty, K. (2007). Psychosocial resources in the aftermath of natural and human-caused disasters: A review of the empirical literature, with implications for intervention. Retrieved August 25, 2008, from, http://www.ncptsd. va.gov/ ncmain/ncdocs/fact_shts/fs_resources.html?printable-template=factsheet
  36. Norris, F. H., & Kaniasty, K. (1996). Received and perceived social support in times of stress: A test of the social support deterioration deterrence model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 498–511.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Roberto, K. A., & Husser, E. K. (2007). Social relationships: Resources and obstacles to older women's health adaptations and well-being. In T. J. Owens & J. J. Suitor (Eds.), Advances in life course research, Vol. 12: Interpersonal relations across the life course (pp. 383–410). New York: Elsevier Science.Google Scholar
  38. Rook, K. S. (1987). Social support versus companionship: Effects on life stress, loneliness, and evaluations of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 1132–1147.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sherbourne, C. D., & Stewart, A. L. (1991). The MOS social support survey. Social Science & Medicine, 32, 705–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Silverstein, M., & Waite, L. J. (1993). Are Blacks more likely than Whites to receive and provide social support in middle and old age? Yes, no, and maybe. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 48, S212–S222.Google Scholar
  41. Stack, C. B. (1974). All our kin: Strategies for survival in a Black community. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  42. Stack, C. B., & Burton, L. M. (1993). Kinscripts. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 24, 157–170.Google Scholar
  43. Sudarkasa, N. (2007). Interpreting the African heritage in Afro-American family organization. In H. P. McAdoo (Ed.), Black families (4th ed., pp. 29–48). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  44. U.S. Senate Committee on Aging. (2006). Caring for seniors in a national emergency: Can we do better? (pp. 109–123). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  45. Watanabe, C., Okumura, J., Chiu, T.-Y., & Wakai, S. (2004). Social support and depressive symptoms among displaced older adults following the 1999 Taiwan earthquake. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17(1), 63–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Weintraub, D., & Ruskin, P. E. (1999). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the elderly: A review. Harvard Review Psychiatry, 7(3), 144–152.Google Scholar
  47. Zakour, M. J. (2008). Social capital and increased organizational capacity for evacuation in natural disasters. Social Development Issues, 30(1), 13–28.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen A. Roberto
    • 1
  • Yoshinori Kamo
    • 2
  • Tammy Henderson
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Gerontology and Institute for Society, Culture and EnvironmentVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Life Course and Aging CenterLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

Personalised recommendations