Survey of Trauma, Resilience, and Opportunity among Neighborhoods in the Gulf (STRONG)

A longitudinal assessment of the health and well-being of residents in Gulf Coast communities

Members of a Baptist church in Belle Chasse, La. deliver cleaning supplies to residents affected by Hurricane Isaac. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

Members of a Baptist church in Belle Chasse, La. deliver cleaning supplies to residents affected by Hurricane Isaac

Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

CRGC researchers fielded STRONG in 2016, six years after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DHOS). Researchers first conducted a literature review related to the public health impacts of oil spills to determine which parts of existing knowledge could be built on and which areas would benefit from further scholarship on community resilience. They built the survey instrument collaboratively, so it benefits from the expertise of community members and researchers across a range of fields.

For the inaugural survey, CRGC called 2,520 respondents in the 56 coastal counties and parishes in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The questionnaire included measures of:

  • Health: Physical, Mental, and Behavioral Health; Trauma History; Healthcare Utilization
  • DHOS Exposure: Clean-Up Activities; Damaged Property; Damaged Commercial Fisheries; Impact to Recreational Activities and/or Diet; Employment in Affected Industries
  • Networked Adaptive Capacities: Social Capital; Community Competence; Information and Communication; Economic Development

Two years later, in 2018, CRGC researchers contacted the same survey participants for STRONG II, to assess the effects of the 2017-2018 hurricane season on their well-being. Those who responded (751 residents of counties/parishes in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida who live in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, and 295 respondents in 16 counties across Texas) were asked about their experiences related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Nate, and Michael; dimensions of well-being including mental health, physical health, traumatic experiences, and alcohol use; their news sources; and their housing, employment, risk perceptions, and demographics.

In 2022, STRONG was funded for additional waves of follow-up surveys. Surveys continue to be administered to participants roughly annually, repeating questions about wellbeing including mental health, physical health as well as experiences with trauma, and public health and environmental challenges.

STRONG III, conducted after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, explored how the built environment shaped COVID-19 outcomes, including behavioral health responses. Across the five states, 599 respondents participated in this survey.

STRONG IV was conducted later in 2022 and into 2023, and STRONG V conducted in 2023 and into 2024. The focus of these waves was to examine alcohol use over time, with a focus on the role of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Survey Instruments and Data


STRONG I and STRONG II (LA, MS, AL, FL) were supported by a grant from The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. Data are publicly available through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC) (10.7266/N76971Z0). STRONG II (TX) was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1760484). STRONG III was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 2048637). STRONG IV and V are supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (5R01AA029081).

Resulting Publications

Based on their analyses of STRONG data, CRGC researchers have published numerous papers and reports.