Exposure, Avoidance, and PTSD Among Hurricane Katrina Evacuees

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Abstract

This article describes an investigation into the relationship between exposure, avoidant coping, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Specifically, this study examines the unique contribution of the dose of exposure to variance in PTSD and provides a mediational analysis to deter mine the degree to which avoidant coping affects the relationship between exposure and PTSD. Findings reveal that the dose of exposure is a strong predictor of threshold-level PTSD at 1 year postdisaster and identifies avoidant coping strategies as a partial mediator between exposure and the development of PTSD. Identification of avoidant coping as a significant factor in the causal pathway between exposure and PTSD provides a clearly definable and specific target for clinical intervention.

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