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Posttraumatic stress disorder among survivors of the Wenchuan earthquake 1 year after: prevalence and risk factors

Jiuping Xu, Xiaocui Song
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2011, 52 (4): 431-7
21683180
Exposure to earthquakes has been associated with psychological distress in particular, the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aims of this study are to estimate the prevalence of PTSD, explore the associated risk factors among survivors 1 year after the Wenchuan earthquake in China, and compare the findings in our study to other disasters. Cross-sectional sample survey was conducted to collect data in severely affected counties. We use the PTSD Check List-Civilian Version, which consists of 17 items corresponding to each symptom in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition PTSD criteria B, C, and D. The prevalence estimates of probable PTSD in our sample ranged from 21.5% (based on Check List-Civilian Version score of 50 or higher) to 40.1% (based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria). The prevalence of PTSD was high, compared with rates of PTSD in previous studies. Low social support, feeling fear during the earthquake, female, young people, Han nationality, low monthly income, and low educational level were risk factors significantly related to the development of PTSD. Postdisaster mental health recovery interventions including early identification, ongoing monitoring, and sustained psychosocial support are required for the high-risk population with PTSD. Existing rural and urban health care services should be convenient for people, and special measures need to be designed, such as home visits and mobile clinics.

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