Study: Families More Likely To Break Up After Natural Disaster

natural disaster
Heartbreak, Self

What Hurricane Katrina victims can teach Joplin tornado survivors about preserving family.

The tornado that has left Joplin, Mo. in ruins is but one of the natural disasters the world has experienced lately and the most destructive tornado the US has seen in 60 years. Recovery from said disasters can be difficult on all levels, even an interpersonal one. New research shows that households are more susceptible to breaking up after a disaster strikes.

The RAND Corporation study based their research off families in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina where "two-thirds of the city's households at the time of Katrina saw at least one family member move away." From Tragedy To Togetherness: The Story Of A Flood

While multi-generational households in New Orleans were most likely to separate in the aftermath, nuclear households suffered as well.

"We would expect that some families might have to separate briefly following a disaster such as a major hurricane," said Michael Rendall, author of the study and director of the Population Research Center at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "But in New Orleans, where extended-family households were very common, the hurricane had a large and longer-term impact on the breakup of households."

The study found families whose homes were not habitable post-Katrina were more likely to break up than those whose homes were reparable, which underlines the importance a home plays in a family's life.  Does Your Home Cause Marital Stress?