GALVESTON Galveston teenagers who weathered Hurricane Ike without evacuating the island reported higher rates of substance abuse and physical and sexual dating violence after the storm than teenagers who evacuated, according to new research from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

These findings are in keeping with other research about disaster-related trauma, which consistently shows the closer a person is to the epicenter of a disaster, the higher that person s risk of developing psychological problems and associated behavioral problems.

Disaster exposure is associated with negative health outcomes, said UTMB s Jeff Temple, assistant professor and clinical psychologist and lead author of the UTMB study. The more someone s life (or the life of a loved one) is in danger, the more severe the traumatic reaction is likely to be.

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