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Gulf oil spill similar to Exxon Valdez in initial social and mental impacts, study finds
Date:4/19/2011

ate range. The finding was similar to the sample from Cordova in which more than one-half were classified as either severe or moderate.

  • Higher levels of event-related psychological stress among south Mobile County residents were consistently related to family health concerns, economic loss, concern for future economic loss, ties to ecosystem resources and exposure to oil.

  • Four out of 10 respondents (43 percent) reported a commercial connection to coastal resources, and those with connections to damaged/threatened resources were more likely to experience higher levels of stress.

  • People in lower income categories and lower levels of education were more likely to experience high levels of stress.

  • Approximately one out of three respondents experienced some type of exposure to oil, and such exposure was significantly related to higher levels of stress.

  • Sixty-six percent of respondents reported negative spill-related economic impacts on their households.

  • Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated concern about the threat of economic loss.

    People with commercial ties to damaged natural resources suffered the greatest impacts, the authors found.

    "Given the social scientific evidence amassed over the years in Prince William Sound, Alaska, we can only conclude that social disruption and psychological stress will characterize residents of Gulf Coast communities for decades to come," the authors wrote.

    Like the Exxon Valdez, and technological disasters in general, the aftermath of the BP oil spill will include "contested" scientific evidence concerning ecological damages, secondary traumas resulting from the claims process and litigation, and serious community conflict and mental health problems, the authors wrote.

    The study's results will be published in forthcoming editions of the journals American Behavioral Scientist and Contexts.


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  • Contact: Liesel Ritchie
    liesel.ritchie@colorado.edu
    303-492-4181
    University of Colorado at Boulder
    Source:Eurekalert  

    Page: 1 2

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