Longitudinal Assessment of Cognitive and Psychosocial Functioning After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Exploring Disaster Impact on Middle‐Aged, Older, and Oldest‐Old Adults


Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Louisiana Healthy Aging Study, environmental stressors, psychology


The authors examined the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on cognitive and psychosocial functioning in a lifespan sample of adults 6–14 months after the storms. Participants were recruited from the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study. Most were assessed during the immediate impact period and retested for this study. Analyses of pre‐ and post‐disaster cognitive data confirmed that storm‐related decrements in working memory for middle‐aged and older adults observed in the immediate impact period had returned to pre‐hurricane levels in the post‐disaster recovery period. Middle‐aged adults reported more storm‐related stressors and greater levels of stress than the two older groups at both waves of testing. These results are consistent with a burden perspective on post‐disaster psychological reactions.

Original Publication Citation

Cherry, K. E.,*Brown, J. S, Marks, L. D., Galea, S., Volaufova, J., Lefante, C., Su, L. J., Welsh, D. A., Jazwinski, S. M., (2011). Longitudinal assessment of cognitive and psychosocial functioning after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Exploring disaster impact on middle-aged, older, and oldest-old adults. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, 16, 187-211.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Reseearch




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor