Natural disaster and depression: A prospective investigation of reactions to the 1993 Midwest Floods

Elizabeth M. Ginexi, Karen Weihs, Samuel J. Simmens, Danny R. Hoyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


A statewide sample of 1735 Iowa residents, approximately half of whom were victims of the 1993 Midwest Floods, participated in interviews 1 year prior to, and 30 to 90 days after, the disaster. Employing a rigorous methodology including both control-group comparisons and predisaster assessments, we performed a systematic evaluation of the disaster's impact. Overall, the disaster led to true but small rises in depressive symptoms and diagnoses 60-90 days postflood. The disaster-psychopathology effect was not moderated by predisaster depressive symptoms or diagnostically defined depression; rather, predisaster symptoms and diagnoses uniquely contributed to increases in postdisaster distress. However, increases in symptoms as a function of flood impact were slightly greater among respondents with the lowest incomes and among residents living in small rural communities, as opposed to on farms or in cities. Implications for individual- and community-level disaster response are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-518
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2000


  • Depression
  • Longitudinal
  • Major life events
  • Natural disaster
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Natural disaster and depression: A prospective investigation of reactions to the 1993 Midwest Floods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this