Children's sedentary activity after hurricane exposure

Betty S. Lai, Annette M. La Greca, Maria M. Llabre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The current study examined the potential impact of a natural disaster, Hurricane Ike, on children's levels of sedentary activity. Sedentary activity is a health risk behavior associated with poor chronic health outcomes. Hurricane exposure (perceived and actual life threat) and recovery stressors (hurricane-related and major life events) were expected to be associated with posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms and sedentary activity. Children (n = 204; 51% girls; M age = 9.23 years; 73% ethnic minorities) from Galveston, Texas, were evaluated 8 months posthurricane. Child-report measures of traumatic experiences, major life events, PTS symptoms, height and weight, and sedentary activity were collected; actual height and weight measurements were collected for a subset of 53 children. Consistent with expectations, hurricane exposure and recovery stressors were significantly associated with PTS symptoms and sedentary activity. Findings also suggest that PTS symptoms may mediate the relationship between stressors and sedentary activity. Implications for schools, families, and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-289
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • children
  • disaster
  • physical health
  • structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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