Why Study Disasters?

Natural disasters are adverse environmental events that occur around the world and have the potential to cause significant destruction and loss of life.  With regards to our research, they provide a unique and rare opportunity to study prenatal maternal stress as an “independent stressor”, meaning that the occurrence of the event is beyond the woman’s control and not influenced by external variables (e.g. personality, genetics).

SPIRAL is currently examining prenatal maternal stress in relation to three natural disasters around the world: 

  1. The ice storm of southern Quebec, Canada in 1998 (Project Ice Storm)
  2. The flooding of Iowa, United States of America in 2008 (The Iowa Flood Study)
  3. The flooding of Queensland, Australia in 2011 (The Queensland Flood Study [QF2011])
  4. The wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada in 2016 (The Fort McMurray Wildfire Study) 
  5. The flooding in Houston, Texas, United States of America in 2017 (The Hurricane Harvey Flood Study)
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