The short-and long-term impacts of hurricane irma on florida agricultural leaders as early emergency responders: The importance of workplace stability

Lynn M. Grattan, Angela Lindsay, Yuanyuan Liang, Kelsey A. Kilmon, Scott Cohen, Tracy Irani, John Glenn Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The impacts of hurricane-related disasters in agricultural communities include extensive losses of fields, orchards, and livestock, the recovery of which could span many years. Agricultural Extension Agents (EAs) try to manage and mitigate these losses, while simultaneously overseeing emergency shelter operations. These non-professional emergency responders face numerous potential stressors, the outcomes of which are minimally known. This study examined the short-and long-term medical and behavioral outcome of 36 University of Florida Agricultural Extension Agents within two months and one year after Hurricane Irma, Florida, USA, taking into consideration personal/home and work-related hurricane impacts. Regression analyses indicated that combined home and work hurricane impacts were associated with greater anxiety, depression, and medical symptoms controlling for age and number of prior hurricane experiences within two months of landfall. One year later, depression symptoms increased as well as the use of negative disengagement coping strategies for which stability of the work environment was protective. The findings suggest that advanced training in emergency response, organization and time management skills, time off and temporary replacement for personally impacted EAs, and workplace stability, including enhanced continuity of operations plans, represent critical elements of health prevention and early intervention for this occupational group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1050
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • Agricultural extension workers
  • Disasters
  • Hurricane Impact
  • Hurricanes
  • Non-professional first responders
  • Post-disaster behavioral health
  • Workplace stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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