Are posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms pathways to smoking relapse after a natural disaster?
Background: Smoking relapse is rarely examined in disaster research. Thus, this study investigated smoking relapse nine and eighteen months after Hurricane Katrina and identified pathways and conditions for this outcome. Methods: The data came from a prospective study of adult ever smokers who were living in New Orleans at the time Hurricane Katrina struck (n = 1003), and a comparison sample of Memphis residents (n = 1001) who were not directly impacted by the hurricane. Participants from both cities were recruited using random digit dialing and were surveyed nine and eighteen months after Hurricane Katrina. We assessed whether smoking relapse rates differed by city and evaluated potential mediators and moderators of this association using conditional process analysis. Results: Though the probabilities of smoking relapse, posttraumatic stress, and depressive symptoms were higher among New Orleans than Memphis participants, hurricane exposure did not indirectly affect smoking relapse through increases in posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms. Instead, as the number of hurricane-related events increased so to did the probability of smoking relapse through increases in depressive (β = 0.08, SE = 0.03, p =.02) and posttraumatic stress symptoms (β=0.08, SE=0.04, p =.04). Social support lowered the probability of smoking relapse by protecting against increases in depressive and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Conclusions: Posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms mediated the effects of disaster exposure on smoking relapse, and this effect was most pronounced among survivors who reported disaster-related stressors. Former smokers heavily exposed to disasters may benefit from postdisaster interventions that reduce depressive and posttraumatic stress symptoms, which may prevent smoking relapse.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Alexander, Adam C.; Ward, Kenneth D.; Forde, David R.; and Stockton, Michelle, "Are posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms pathways to smoking relapse after a natural disaster?" (2019). UNF Faculty Publications. 958.