Families Coping With Financial Loss Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Sweet Keating, Kathryn; Becker, Sarah; Davis, Ifeyinwa F.; Chandler, Thomas E.; Slack, Tim; Beedasy, Jaishree

Objective: This study examines family strategies for coping and adaptation to social disruption from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DHOS) in south Louisiana.

Background: The DHOS is a technological disaster of unprecedented scale and ongoing impact, including the socioeconomic disruption of families.

Method: Using data from focus groups, grounded‐theory methods informed a thematic analysis of spill‐related economic loss and coping mechanisms among families in the spill‐affected region.

Results: Key findings were as follows: (a) long‐term economic impacts persisted but were nuanced and differed across places; (b) for families living in multistressor environments, concerns about the DHOS spilled over into other aspects of social functioning and became enmeshed with perceptions of other environmental stressors; and (c) economic exposure after the DHOS affected families differently based on social position and community social structure.

Conclusion: This study contributes to existing knowledge on technological disaster and family resilience in the face of environmental shocks and stressors, underscoring the utility of the conservation of resources model of stress in this area of research.

Implications: This research offers information about family‐level response to oil spill impacts and may be of interest to policymakers and practitioners who work to support resilience in disaster contexts.

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Also Published In

Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Science

More About This Work

Academic Units
National Center for Disaster Preparedness
Published Here
January 4, 2021