Parental Education and Child Physical Health Following the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Stroope, Samuel; Kroeger, Rhiannon A.; Slack, Tim; Keating, Kathryn Sweet; Beedasy, Jaishree; Chandler, Thomas E.; Sury, Jonathan; Brooks, Jeremy

Purpose: To assess whether trajectories of children’s physical health problems differ by parental college degree attainment in Louisiana areas highly impacted by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill (BP-DHOS).
Design: Three waves of panel data (2014, 2016, and 2018) from the Gulf Coast Population Impact / Resilient Children, Youth, and Communities studies.
Setting: BP-DHOS-impacted communities in coastal Louisiana.
Participants: Parents of children aged 4-18 in a longitudinal probability sample (n = 392).
Measures: Reported child physical health problems from the BP-DHOS, parental college degree attainment, and covariates.
Analysis: Linear growth curve models are used to assess initial levels of and the rate of change in child physical unknown. The current study uses 3 waves physical health problems by parental college degree attainment. Explanatory variables are measured at baseline and the outcome variable is measured at all 3 waves.
Results: Compared to children of parents without college degrees, children of college graduates had fewer initial health problems in 2014 (b = −.33; p = .02). Yet, this health advantage decreased over time, as indicated by their positive rate of change (b = .22; p = .01), such that the higher education health advantage was not statistically significant by 2018.
Conclusion: Children of college graduates experienced a physical health advantage following the BP-DHOS, but this gap closed over time. The closure of the gap was due to the children of college graduates experiencing significant increases in reported health problems over the study period.

Geographic Areas


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Also Published In

American Journal of Health Promotion

More About This Work

Academic Units
National Center for Disaster Preparedness
Published Here
May 16, 2023