By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

STILLWATER, Oklahoma -- An Oklahoma State University sociology professor's life research is helping victims of the Gulf oil spill cope.

Duane Gill has spent the last 21 years researching the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the communities it affected. The research included how the spill impacted mental health and long-term psychological effects.

"Here we go again. It's just unbelievable that something of this magnitude could occur again in American waters," Gill said.

The Exxon Valdez spill resulted in increases in depression, domestic abuse and alcoholism. The research is behind a guidebook called Coping With Technological Disasters. It is also the driving force behind a DVD Training Course. Both are used to help communities assess and understand disasters of a spill and similar catastrophic events. It gives an outline of what to expect in the early days and in the years that follow.

"Hopefully, we can find ways to lessen the harm than what the people in Alaska felt," Gill said.

The information was used to help in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and now communities along the Gulf are using it as a model too because of the spill. Gill said he is applying for an expedited grant to start research work on the Gulf oil spill. If chosen, his team would get up to $40,000 to do the research.