Van Phan

Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis




Clinical-Community Psychology

First Advisor

Bret Kloos


In October 2015, South Carolina was devastated by weather complications related to hurricane Joaquin that lead to historic amounts of rainfall and flash floods that destroyed local communities and infrastructure, ultimately displacing over 400,000 people. Natural disasters are destructive and have shown to be correlated with a variety of negative outcomes, including high levels of stress and hopelessness. These effects can be even more pronounced when compounded with displacement as these victims not only have to deal with the usual consequences in the aftermath of a natural disaster, but also the stress of integrating themselves into a different community and potential disruption of their social support network. The present study is a pilot study that investigates the relationship between neighborhood experiences, as measured by neighbor relations and neighborhood social climate, and well-being, as measured by perceived stress and hope, with interpersonal support as a potential mediator for those that were displaced due to the floods (Group 1) and a potential moderator for those that were not, divided into two groups based on damage incurred from the floods (Groups 2 & 3). Results showed significant differences in means between Groups 1 and 2 in hope and Groups 2 and 3 in neighbor relations and interpersonal support. Neighbor relations, neighborhood social climate, and interpersonal support were shown to be correlated with perceived stress and hope, supporting a social ecological approach when it comes to post-disaster recovery. Future research should continue building theory, generating potential frameworks, and refining research questions using the theoretical foundations presented by this study.