Disparate effects of BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill exposure on psychological resilience

A growing body of research has demonstrated links between exposure to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DHOS) and negative consequences for well-being in the impacted region. We contribute to this literature by investigating the relationship between exposure to the DHOS (i.e., physical and economic) and subsequent perceptions of the ability to cope with adverse events (i.e., psychological resilience) among adults with children. Doing so advances prior research by (a) providing a direct test of psychological resilience (i.e., the 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale) rather than relying on proxy measures and (b) improving on cross-sectional studies by using prospective cohort data to establish temporal ordering between spill exposure and psychological resilience. Data were obtained from the 2014 Gulf Coast Population Impact study and the 2018 wave of the Resilient Children, Youth, and Communities study (N = 481). The analysis used descriptive statistics and linear regression models with adult psychological resilience (10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale) as the outcome of interest. Results showed that economic DHOS exposure held a significant negative relationship with later levels of psychological resilience, whereas physical DHOS exposure did not. These findings inform policy and practice by underscoring links between socioeconomic disaster impacts and psychological resilience in the aftermath of such events. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

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