Methods: A 60-minute, in-person survey was administered to a total of 326 residents from the Gulf Coast communities of Port Sulphur, LA; Galliano, LA; and Bayou La Batre, AL; to investigate the role of social networks, risk perceptions, perceived disaster consequences (Protective Action Decision Model - PADM), individual resilience (CD-RISC), and demographics as predictors of preparedness and resilience for future hydrocarbon events. The cross-sectional design survey respondents were predominately White (n=160), Black (n=58), and Vietnamese (n=75), with a final sample size of 326 participants. The outcome variable, perceived disaster consequences, was operationalized using an aggregated total score (0-15) of three ordinal questions from the PADM, by measuring the impact of the oil spill on the environment, economy, and social relationships.
Results: A hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that gender explained 5% of the variance in perceived disaster consequences F (2,322) = 120.24, p < .0001. Furthermore, resilience explained an incremental 11% of the variance in perceived disaster consequences, F (3, 320) = 138.24 p < .0001, above and beyond the variance accounted for by gender. Significant predictors are job loss as a result of the oil spill, decrease in income, and depression. Analysis indicated females had a higher degree of total perceived disaster consequences compared to lower levels of amongst males.
Conclusions and Implications: This study identified predictors of how disaster consequences are perceived as measured by the PADM among people who live in communities impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The results indicate significant effects of perceived disaster consequences on gender. Future social work research should be directed at identifying specific factors that affect resilience among various populations, and on strengthening resilience especially for vulnerable populations. Specifically, the findings suggest more nuanced and targeted interventions in the areas of disaster mental health services may be needed in order to address the unique experiences and contexts of particular communities. Implications for social work policy, practice, and research will be discussed.