Psychological distress among Bam earthquake survivors in Iran: a population-based study

Ali Montazeri, Hamid Baradaran, Sepideh Omidvari, Seyed Ali Azin, Mehdi Ebadi, Gholamreza Garmaroudi, Amir Mahmood Harirchi, Mohammad Shariati
BMC Public Health 2005 January 11, 5: 4

BACKGROUND: An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck the city of Bam in Iran on the 26th of December 2003 at 5.26 A.M. It was devastating, and left over 40,000 dead and around 30,000 injured. The profound tragedy of thousands killed has caused emotional and psychological trauma for tens of thousands of people who have survived. A study was carried out to assess psychological distress among Bam earthquake survivors and factors associated with severe mental health in those who survived the tragedy.

METHODS: This was a population-based study measuring psychological distress among the survivors of Bam earthquake in Iran. Using a multi-stage stratified sampling method a random sample of individuals aged 15 years and over living in Bam were interviewed. Psychological distress was measured using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12).

RESULTS: In all 916 survivors were interviewed. The mean age of the respondents was 32.9 years (SD = 12.4), mostly were males (53%), married (66%) and had secondary school education (50%). Forty-one percent reported they lost 3 to 5 members of their family in the earthquake. In addition the findings showed that 58% of the respondents suffered from severe mental health as measured by the GHQ-12 and this was three times higher than reported psychological distress among the general population. There were significant differences between sub-groups of the study sample with regard to their psychological distress. The results of the logistic regression analysis also indicated that female gender; lower education, unemployment, and loss of family members were associated with severe psychological distress among earthquake victims.

CONCLUSION: The study findings indicated that the amount of psychological distress among earthquake survivors was high and there is an urgent need to deliver mental health care to disaster victims in local medical settings and to reduce negative health impacts of the earthquake adequate psychological counseling is needed for those who survived the tragedy.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"