Presentation Abstract

Session: 009-Public Health, Ecology and Society in the Context of Resilience: a systems approach to assessing the potential impact of the Gulf of Mexico Oil spill
Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014, 9:15 AM - 6:00 PM
Presentation: Mental health symptoms among GuLF STUDY participants involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up
Location: Mobile Bay Ballroom I & II
Pres. Time: Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014, 12:00 PM -12:15 PM
Keywords: Mental Health Effects; Exposure; Epidemiology
Author(s): R. Kwok1, L. Engel2, C. Ekenga1, A. Miller1, A. Blair3, D. Sandler1;
1NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC, 2University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 3NCI, Bethesda, MD.
Abstract: Background: Workers and communities impacted by previous oil spills have shown increases in depression, anxiety, and other adverse mental health outcomes. The GuLF STUDY is a longitudinal investigation of potential health effects among workers involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up. Participants confronted a range of potential physical and psychosocial stressors including exposures to oil and dispersants, income uncertainties, and challenges of family and community disruption.
Methods: Demographic, exposure, and health information was collected during telephone interviews. Standardized surveys administered to 11,210 participants during home visits captured mental health outcomes including depression, anxiety, PTSD, resiliency and coping. Mental health findings were evaluated in relation to task-based qualitative estimates of spill-related exposures as well as socioeconomic factors.
Results: Preliminary findings will be presented which reflect how mental health symptoms were influenced by participant exposures after accounting for socioeconomic and other factors that contribute to mental well-being.
Conclusions: Adverse psychosocial and mental health outcomes appear to play an important role in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill. Improved understanding of risk factors and health effects can lead to enhanced preparedness, resiliency, and recovery for workers, and their communities.