Seeing Silver Linings After Catastrophic Loss: Personal Growth, Positive Adaption, and Relationships that Matter


Natural disaster, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Catastrophic loss, Benefit finding, Long-term recovery


Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused catastrophic destruction to neighborhoods, communities, and businesses along the US Gulf Coast in 2005. In this chapter, we examine perceived silver linings (defined as benefits and blessings) and potentially positive outcomes associated with the treacherous 2005 storms among those who were directly affected by them. Participants in the present research were former and current residents of two coastal parishes in south Louisiana who experienced significant property damage and lengthy displacement in 2005. They provided narrative data in structured interviews conducted at least 5 years after the storms. Content analyses of these primary data yielded three emergent themes: (1) Personal Growth and Change in Perspective, (2) Appreciation for a New, Positive Social Environment,(3) and Relationships with Family and Friends are What Matter Most. These data indicate that traumatic and life-changing events sometimes elicit benefit finding and may lead to positive outcomes for some people.

Original Publication Citation

Hatch, T., Cherry, K., Lu, Y., & Marks, L. (2015). Seeing silver linings after catastrophic loss: Personal growth, positive adaptation, and relationships that matter. In K. Cherry (ed.), Traumatic stress and long-term recovery: Coping with disasters and other negative life events (pp. 389-402). New York: Springer

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Traumatic Stress and Long-Term Recovery




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Adjunct Faculty