The Prospective Effects of Hurricane Exposure and Personality Traits on Physical Health and Health Behaviors

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The present study investigated the degree to which hurricane adversity and personality traits may be associated with post-disaster physical health and health behaviors. We utilized a longitudinal survey design (two measurement waves), where participants were first assessed shortly after Hurricane Harvey impacted the southern United States in 2017 (baseline) and one year later (follow-up). Our diverse sample consisted of hurricane-exposed college students from the University of Houston (n = 383). At baseline, we assessed hurricane exposure, demographics, and Big Five personality traits and facets. At the one-year followup, we assessed physical health, satisfaction with health, and health behaviors. Across nine different health outcomes, we found that hurricane exposure statistically significantly predicted worse sleep quality (but not quantity) one year after the disaster event. Hurricane exposure demonstrated no significant links to the other eight physical health and health behaviors. Moreover, we found that personality traits and facets significantly predicted numerous health outcomes, and largely in the predicted directions for conscientiousness and neuroticism (our only traits with hypothesized directions). Lastly, no statistically significant moderation effects were found.

Adversity, Hurricane Exposure, Personality, Health