Hispanic Health Disparities After a Flood Disaster: Results of a Population-Based Survey of Individuals Experiencing Home Site Damage in El Paso (Texas, USA)
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In 2006, El Paso County, a predominantly Hispanic urban area, was affected by a flood disaster; 1,500 homes were damaged. We assessed the health impacts of the disaster upon 475 individuals whose homes were flood-damaged using mail survey data and logistic regression. Substantial proportions of individuals had one or more physical (43 %) or mental (18 %) health problem in the four months following the floods; 28 % had one or more injury or acute effect related to post-flood cleanup. Adverse event experiences, older age, and lower socioeconomic status were significantly associated with negative post-flood health outcomes in all three logistic regression models. A lack of access to healthcare, non-US citizenship, and English proficiency were significant predictors of negative outcomes in both the physical and mental health models, while Hispanic ethnicity (physical), native-birth (mental), and more serious home damage (cleanup) were significant predictors in one model each. The disaster had disproportionate negative health impacts on those who were more exposed, poorer, older, and with constrained resource-access. While a lack of US citizenship and Hispanic ethnicity were associated with higher risks, being less acculturated (i.e., English-deficient, foreign-born) may have protected against health impacts.
KeywordsFlood disaster Physical and mental health Acculturation Hispanic El Paso (TX)
Marilú Gamez, from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Languages and Linguistics Department, provided invaluable expertise with survey translation. UTEP students Lorena Sifuentes and Yolanda McDonald assisted with survey administration and data entry. We acknowledge Bill Hargrove from the Center for Environmental Resource Management at UTEP for providing summer research assistantship funding. This project was supported primarily by Award Number P20MD002287 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent official views of the NIMHD or the National Institutes of Health.
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