Mental Health

Individual and Family Resiliency after Environmental Disasters: Bouncing Back


Lynn Grattan, PhD, Project Director

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill contributed to a lot of stress for Gulf Coast residents. Many people were understandably sad, worried, tired, and angry during and immediately following the spill.  However, they did their best to protect their coastal environment; preserve the fish, shellfish, and tourism industries; and provide for their families during this challenging time. This research examines the psychological recovery of Gulf Coast residents and families after the oil spill. Specifically, we are interested in learning about the sources of distress for local residents in the months and years after the spill as well as how people are coping. Since everyone copes differently, we are also interested in learning more about the kinds of things that people do that help the recovery process or allow them to bounce back more quickly. Findings will be used to better inform local government agencies and service providers of ongoing community needs and to develop more effective intervention programs for future victims of environmental disaster.

Research methods for this study include:

  • Inviting a random sample of 300 residents and families in Franklin County, FL and Baldwin County, AL to participate in the study.
  • Examining participants with clinical and psychological measure of stress, anxiety, depression, coping, and problem solving once a year for 4 years.
  • Providing summary data of our findings to the participants each year.
  • Working with community representatives and partners to determine how the results could be used to help Gulf Coast residents in our study communities.

For information in Baldwin County contact:

Moira Riley, M.S.Field Coordinator
Healthy Gulf Healthy Communities
Baldwin County

For more information, check out our brochure.