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Perceptions of Resilience and Physical Health Symptom Improvement Following Post Disaster Integrated Health Services

  • Howard J. Osofsky (a1), Carl F. Weems (a2), Rebecca A. Graham (a1), Joy D. Osofsky (a1), Tonya C. Hansel (a1) and Lucy S. King (a3)...



Theorists and researchers have linked resilience with a host of positive psychological and physical health outcomes. This paper examines perceptions of resilience and physical health symptoms in a sample of individuals exposed to multiple community disasters following involvement in integrated mental health services.


A multiwave naturalistic design was used to follow 762 adult clinic patients (72% female; 28% minority status), ages 18-92 years (mean age=40 years), who were evaluated for resilience and physical health symptoms prior to receiving services and at 1, 3, and 6 months’ follow-up.


Data indicated increases in perceptions of resilience and decreased physical health symptoms reported over time. Results also indicated that resilience predicted physical health symptoms, such that resilience and physical health symptoms were negatively associated (ie, improved resilience was associated with decreases in physical health symptoms). These effects were primarily observed for those individuals with previous exposure to natural disasters.


Findings provide correlational evidence for behavioral health treatment provided as part of a stepped-care, collaborative model in reducing physical health symptoms and increasing resilience post-disaster. Controlled trials are warranted. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:223–229)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Rebecca A. Graham, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Department of Psychiatry, 1542 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112 (


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