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Course and Aging director publishes book examining impact of natural disasters on lifespan

BATON ROUGE Director of LSU's Life Course and Aging Center, or LCAC, Katie Cherry, along with several LSU colleagues, has published a book titled, "Lifespan Perspectives on Natural Disasters: Coping With Katrina, Rita and Other Storms," through Springer Publishing.

"I am very excited about this edited volume which is unique in that provides a glimpse of psychological reactions to the storms across the lifespan, from the preschool period to the oldest-old adults aged 90 and over," said Cherry. "I imagine that this book would be of interest to a very diverse audience, spanning the science to the service ends of the continuum. Given the complex and tragic nature of Katrina, the worst natural disaster in our nation's history, this book may also appeal to the general public."

The book explores problems that could develop at all stages of life: children and youth, middle aged adults, older adults and very old adults. It also analyzes risks and dangers inherent in different aspects of an individual's life, such as in the workplace, as a volunteer, in the medical field and more.

"It is very important to me that I indicate the truly collaborative nature of the book. All of the contributing authors are top notch scholars in their own rights and each worked hard to ensure that their chapters were not only of the highest possible quality but also integrated with the each other's work," said Cherry. "To me, an indication of the overall value of the book is sheer number of cross-references indicating the complexity and scope of the topic as well as the range of experiences."

In addition to Cherry, other researchers affiliated with the LSU LCAC who have contributed to the book include:

  • Priscilla Allen, LSU School of Social Work
  • Teresa Buchanan, LSU Department of Educational Theory, Policy and Practice
  • Jennifer Baumgartner, LSU School of Human Ecology
  • Renee Casbergue, LSU Department of Educational Theory, Policy and Practice
  • Thompson E. Davis III, LSU Department of Psychology
  • Betsy Garrison, LSU School of Human Ecology and LSU AgCenter
  • Yoshinori Kamo, LSU Department of Sociology
  • Mary Lou Kelley, LSU Department of Psychology
  • Loren Marks, LSU School of Human Ecology
  • Stacy Overstreet, Tulane University Department of Psychology and LSU LCAC
  • Diane Sasser, LSU School of Human Ecology and LSU AgCenter
  • Carl Weems, UNO Department of Psychology and LSU LCAC
  • Tracey Rizzuto, LSU Department of Psychology

"I know that I speak for all of the contributing authors when I tell you that my hat goes off to Dr. Cherry," said Betsy Garrison, contributing author and member of LSU's School of Human Ecology and LSU's AgCenter. "She has put together a truly noteworthy, comprehensive and moving book. A book that, in a scientifically rigorous way, uniquely captures the experiences of people of all ages and walks of life, including those of us who have led parallel lives for several years now, that of both survivors and scholars. This book demonstrates to the world the collective excellence of life course and aging scholarship at LSU and is a harbinger for the future."

According to the Springer Web site, the book examines "human strengths and vulnerabilities during large-scale devastation and crisis." The panel of authors, the majority of whom are from Louisiana, along with chapter contributors from Virginia Tech and University of Michigan, have targeted the book toward both to mental health care providers and to others involved in developing disaster preparedness strategy, intervention and recovery programs at the community, state and regional levels.

"Examining the impact of the 2005 hurricanes through scholarship was an important part of the LSU response and in this book Dr. Cherry has gathered together the work that was completed as part of that response," said Teresa Buchanan, contributing author and member of LSU's Department of Educational Theory, Policy and Practice. "It was difficult to do this research under those trying times and conditions that personally challenged us as community and family members. I'm proud of my research team and glad to be one of the Louisiana scholars who made the effort to continue LSU's mission of generating knowledge in the midst of such crisis, and I'm very grateful to Dr. Cherry for providing this outstanding forum for the dissemination of our scholarship."


Contact: Ashley Berthelot
Louisiana State University

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