Post-Florence study focuses on mental state of those affected by hurricane

Post-Florence study focuses on mental state of those affected by hurricane

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - UNC Pembroke has partnered with East Carolina University and the University of Colorado to participate in a study on the mental effects that Hurricane Florence still has on storm survivors.

“Our ultimate goal is to see how the hurricane has impacted people’s perception of their own control over their lives, their sense of social control in their community and hopefully with the intention of helping people in the future as they recover from disaster and trauma,” says UNCP assistant professor in psychology Ashley Allen.

The REACH study, which is federally funded, will investigate storm survivors’ adjustment and recovery in part through a survey of 300 hurricane-affected individuals residing in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties.

Those participants will complete an initial baseline survey to see if they qualify. From there, they will download an app to their smartphone which asks them questions every day for six weeks. Questions will be about their coping, social support and perceptions of their stress caused by the hurricane.

“Most people in the survey are still going through a physical experience related to the hurricane,” says Allen. “It was one of the requirements that they still need to be struggling from the hurricane. There are still people outside of their homes. Some people are living in their homes but are in the presence of mold, leaks and damage around them."

The research team plans to collect all of the data by December. Up to $120 is being offered for participants.

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