Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Carla Riemersma


AbstractHurricane Katrina made land fall in New Orleans on August 29, 2005. When Hurricane Katrina came ashore at the mouth of the Mississippi River it struck with such vengeance that the protective levees surrounding the New Orleans area were breached. The purpose of this quantitative research is to broaden the understanding the relationship between two phenomena: physical distress and posttraumatic growth among Hurricane Katrina rebuilders who rebuilt their lives 15 years following a natural disaster along the Gulf Coast. The Conservation of Resources and Self-Efficacy Theory were the theoretical framework for this study. The research questions examined if statistically significant relationships existed between the most prevalent factor of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) and the top medical/health manifestations of the Perseverance & Behavioral Health Screen (PBHS) in Hurricane Katrine survivors. All of the survivors who responded to surveys were 18 years or older when Hurricane Katrina came ashore. The final analysis of data used 347 surveys although 457 were collected. Data was analyzed using The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25. The statistical tests used were regression, frequency, and correlation chi squared. Findings showed there was no significant relationship between the medical manifestations and PTGI variable are relating to others, new possibilities, personal strength, spiritual change, and appreciation of life, and trauma experiences of loss of property and personal tragedy. The anticipated social change implications of this study will involve assistance to communities and governments to improve their disaster recovery model. Citizens, community leaders, and governmental leaders could use the research for future disaster planning.