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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

LSU: Researchers Study PTSD Symptom Profiles among Louisiana Women Affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

A new study from the epidemiology department at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health with collaborators from Brown University, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and Brigham and Women’s Hospital report that women living in southeast Louisiana exposed to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill exhibit high levels of self-reported post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

Findings from the investigation of women residing in coastal Louisiana align with existing evidence that PTSD is a heterogeneous disorder comprised of individuals with different and distinct patterns of symptomatology. The study supported the presence of five distinct classes of PTSD symptoms: low, moderate without mood alterations, moderate with mood alterations, severe without risk-taking, and severe with risk-taking.

The results from this latest research suggest that women in coastal Louisiana communities experience a disproportionate number of traumatic events as compared to women in the general population. Women in the study scored likely PTSD when reporting past 1-month symptoms during an interview conducted between 2014 and 2016.

“This is the first investigation reporting trauma and PTSD in our Louisiana cohort, with findings suggesting that women in this study report notably high levels of trauma as well as a high prevalence of probable PTSD. Unfortunately, less than half reported receiving past-year mental health treatment despite the high levels of PTSD symptoms, which suggests that many affected women may not be receiving needed mental health care,“ said Dr. Edward S. Peters, chair of epidemiology at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health.

The study was published the March 2019 edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders.