Anxiety still rampant in Katrina kids, study says
Janet McConnaughey and Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press | August 24, 2010

Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters haven’t stopped rippling through the minds of children on the Gulf Coast. Studies suggest that five years later, the accumulated stress of instability and poverty—and government neglect—has shown up in families’ emotional and mental health.

According to a long-term study by Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, about 37 percent of children “have received a clinical mental health diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or behavior disorder.” That means nearly four in 10 kids, according to their parents’ reports, have spent much of their first years wading through deep emotional and mental crises.

The researchers discovered that “children exposed to Hurricane Katrina were nearly 5 times as likely as a pre-Katrina cohort to exhibit serious emotional disturbance,” which is often fueled by other forms of household or family stress. The study reinforces previous research that has shown the ways in which the stressors of poverty show up in both physical and mental health. (Read the full article)