Prior Hurricane and Other Lifetime Trauma Predict Coping Style in Older Commercial Fishers After the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill


BP oil spill, commercial fishing, lifestyle, impact, coping


Fishing communities along the U.S. Gulf Coast have experienced catastrophic disasters including hurricanes and the BP oil spill. Exposure to such events, and subsequent losses, are known to be associated with psychological distress. This distress may be lessened through adaptive coping behaviors, although prior trauma may affect coping responses. Sixty‐four south Louisiana commercial fishers (21–90 years old) completed the Brief COPE to assess strategies for coping with oil spill stress 12–26 months after the spill. Regression analyses indicated that storm‐related stressors and lifetime traumatic events predicted different styles of coping; however, only avoidant emotional coping predicted more symptoms of depression and post‐traumatic stress. These data suggest that prior and current traumatic experiences may hinder effective coping.

Original Publication Citation

Cherry, K. E., Galea, S., Sampson, L. A., *Lyon, B., Nezat, P., & Marks, L. (2017). Prior hurricane and other lifetime trauma predict coping style in older commercial fishers after the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor