Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The Conservation of Resources theory postulates that individuals will act to obtain, retain, or protect those resources that are of value to them (Hobfall, 1989). Natural disasters often result in depletion of resources, the extent of which has been found to be a robust predictor of post-disaster adjustment (Freedy, Hobfall, & Ribbe, 1994; Freedy, Shaw, Jarrel, & Masters, 1992; Norris & Uhl, 1993; Smith & Freedy, 1994). Three-hundred-four victims (131 males, 171 females) of the 1997 flood of the Red River returned surveys assessing their levels of preparation, resource losses, and psychopathology 12 to 16 months after the flood. It was hypothesized that resource loss would represent the best predictor of outcome measures of psychological distress (anger, anxiety, depression, somatic complaints, and frequency/amount of alcohol use). It was also hypothesized that individuals with high levels of pre-flood preparation and high levels of resource loss would experience the greatest overall pathology, and that individuals with low levels of pre-flood preparation and low levels of resource loss would experience the least overall pathology. Individuals with high preparation, low resource loss, and low preparation, high resource loss, would evidence intermediary levels of pathology. Results were consistent with previous research, in that resource loss was the strongest predictor of depression and somatic complaints. It accounted for the second highest proportion of variance for anxiety, after coping style. Results did not support that amounts of preparation were associated with psychological distress. Theoretical and practical implications and limitations of the current study are addressed, and directions for future research are discussed.

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