Five years after Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, beginning its days-long siege on the tri-state area that would leave major cities largely under water, kill dozens of people and cause tens of billions of dollars in damage, many New Jersey residents who lived through the storm are still struggling to recover.
Monmouth University Poll's Superstorm Sandy Panel has been tracking Garden State residents who suffered major property damage or were displaced from their homes by Sandy. They were first interviewed in 2013. In advance of the five-year anniversary, findings from 432 panel members who updated Monmouth this year showed some devastating numbers.
About four in 10 respondents say their life is worse now than it was before Sandy, including 25 percent who say it'll never be the same, the Monmouth University Poll found. Nine percent said they weren't sure what life would be possible for them in the future.
The poll found fewer New Jersey Sandy victims are displaying psychological distress than in the immediate years after the storm (68 percent show no signs of distress). But 15 percent of panel participants showed signs of "serious distress." Another 17 percent exhibited mild to moderate distress. Despite overall improvements, Sandy survivors showed signs of emotional distress at might higher rates than the population as a whole, the researchers said.
Much of that is connected to their housing status.
"As expected, psychological distress has continued to improve for Sandy victims over time, however the overall rate of serious distress for Sandy victims as compared to the general population remains a cause for concern," Dr. Christine Hatchard, assistant professor of psychology and director of the Clinical Psychology Research Center at Monmouth University, said in a statement. "Being in distress for long periods of time can increasingly have a negative impact on all areas of people’s lives, such as relationships and careers."
For more details on the panel and poll methodology, click here.