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      Coping with oil spills: oil exposure and anxiety among residents of Gulf Coast states after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

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          Abstract

          Introduction: In April 2010, a fatal explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. This research describes the association of oil exposure with anxiety after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and evaluates effect modification by self-mastery, emotional support, and cleanup participation.

          Methods: To assess the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted the Gulf States Population Survey, a random-digit-dial telephone cross-sectional survey completed between December 2010 and December 2011 with 38,361 responses in four different Gulf Coast states­: Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Anxiety severity was measured using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptom inventory. We used Tobit regression to model underlying anxiety as a function of oil exposure and hypothesized effect modifiers, adjusting for socio-demographics.

          Results: Latent anxiety was higher among those directly exposed to oil than among those who were not directly exposed to oil in confounder-adjusted models (β=2.84, 95% CI: 0.78, 4.91). Among individuals exposed to oil, there was no significant interaction between participating in cleanup activities and emotional support for anxiety ( P=0.16). However, among those directly exposed to oil, in confounder-adjusted models, participation in oil spill cleanup activities was associated with lower latent anxiety (β=-3.50, 95% CI: -6.10, -0.90).

          Conclusion: Oil contact was associated with greater anxiety, but this association appeared to be mitigated by cleanup participation.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          UCL Open: Environment Preprint
          UCL Press
          18 March 2021
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Environmental Health, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA 30322.
          [2 ] Department of Epidemiology, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA 30322.
          [3 ] National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, 30345.
          [4 ] Department of Environmental Health, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA 30322. Department of Epidemiology, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA 30322.
          Article
          10.14324/111.444/000072.v1

          This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

          Funding
          National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences P30 ES019776

          Comments

          Date: 30 March 2021

          Handling Editor: Dan Osborn

          This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment Preprint for open peer review.

           

          Additional comments by the Editor:

          People's wellbeing can suffer when they have experience of an environmental disaster and what factors increase or ameliorate anxiety need to be clearly defined in the context of different types of disaster. This preprint has analysed data from a survey of populations with varying experiences of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that were living in coastal and inland communities.

          2021-03-30 11:42 UTC
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