BP oil spill, technological disaster, environmental devastation, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, cumulative adversity, qualitative methods


The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill is recognized as the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. In this article, we examine the impact of the BP oil spill on directly affected commercial fishers and indirectly affected residents of the greater New Orleans metropolitan area. A sample of 148 participants responded to an open-ended question on the impact of the oil spill on self, family, and their community at least 12 months after the oil spill began. Content analysis of their narrative text yielded four emergent themes which we present here: 1) Economic Impact on the Seafood Industry and Local Businesses; 2) Commercial Fishers’ Financial Future; 3) BP’s Response: “Making it Right” or Making it Worse?; and 4) Lingering Worries and Fears: Threats to Fishers’ Health and Lifestyle. Implications of these findings for individuals and families exposed to a decade of natural and technological disasters are considered.

Original Publication Citation

Cherry, K. E., *Lyon, B. E., Marks, L. D., Nezat, P. F., *Adamek, R., Walsh, S. D., Fitzgerald K., Anbinder, D. R., & Bernacchio, C. V. (2015). After the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Financial and health concerns among coastal residents and commercial fishers. Current Psychology, 34, 576-586.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Current Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor