The purpose of the current study was to examine the association between social cohesion and two domains of quality of life (QOL) among individuals affected by Hurricane Ike, which made landfall on September 13, 2008. Psychosocial and physical QOL were measured using the Short form of the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q-SF; Endicottn et al. in Psychopharmacol Bull 29: 321–326, 1993).
The participants were 658 survivors who participated in the Galveston Bay Recovery Study (GBRS; National Center for Disaster Mental Health Research, Galea, and Norris in Galveston Bay Recovery Study, 2008–2010, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], Ann Arbor, MI, https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34801.v1, 2016). Assessments were conducted at approximately 3, 6, and 15 months after the disaster. Longitudinal structural equation modeling was conducted to examine the association between social cohesion and both psychosocial and physical QOL at 6 and 15 months after the hurricane.
The results revealed no significant association between social cohesion and physical QOL at either 6 or 15 months. Furthermore, no association was found between social cohesion and psychosocial QOL at 6 months. However, there was a significant positive association between social cohesion and psychosocial QOL at 15 months, even after controlling for the previous levels of posttraumatic stress and demographic variables.
The current study highlights a potential effect of social cohesion on QOL, specifically the psychosocial domain, which may manifest after 6 months among survivors of a hurricane. The current results also suggest the importance of long-term programs and interventions to help survivors adjust after experiences of disaster.