Repeated exposure to hurricanes is linked to adverse psychological symptoms and may be associated with increased mental health problems, according to a new study.

The findings, which hold true whether the exposure is direct, indirect, or media-based, are critical for understanding the psychological impacts of recurring natural disasters, particularly in the context of the escalating threat of climate change.

Rather than individuals becoming acclimated to repeated exposure to disasters, the results demonstrate that over time, responses to subsequent hurricanes become more negative.

“We show that people are not likely to habituate, or get used to, climate-related natural disasters that will increase in frequency and severity in the years to come,” says Dana Rose Garfin, assistant adjunct professor of nursing and public health at the University of California, Irvine, and first author of the study in JAMA Network Open.

“Our results suggest a potential mental health crisis associated with those who themselves directly experienced the storm or knew someone who did, as well as those who spent several hours engaged with media about the hurricane.”

Read the full article about hurricane exposure and mental health by Pat Harriman at Futurity.