Lessons for a major university: post-Katrina service utilization, needs, and psychological distress in university students


Eakin, Deborah

Committee Member

Armstrong, Kevin

Committee Member

Jacquin, Kristine

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Responses to a web-based survey following Hurricane Katrina were evaluated. The 3,140 university student respondents were separated into impact groups based on evacuation experience: high-impact (student evacuated), moderate-impact (friend/family evacuated), and low-impact (neither student nor friends or family evacuated). Students’ responses to items evaluating service utilization, services desired, and psychological distress were examined by gender, race, and impact group. Female students rated services as more supportive, and reported a greater desire for services not provided by the university, compared to male students. Compared to Caucasian students, African American students viewed services as more supportive and desired services not already provided by the university. Students in the high-impact group scored higher than the other impact groups on measures assessing symptoms of psychological distress. Overall, the results may be used by universities and other organizations to implement future programs and policies for responding to natural disasters.




students' natural disaster needs||Hurricane Katrina aftermath||disaster service utilization

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