Prevalence and predictors of posttraumatic growth among adult survivors one year following 2008 Sichuan earthquake

Jiuping Xu, Qian Liao
Journal of Affective Disorders 2011, 133 (1): 274-80

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to explore prevalence and predictors of posttraumatic growth, including its relationship with PTSD symptoms among adult survivors of a severe earthquake.

METHODS: A stratification random sampling strategy was adopted and 2080 adult survivors of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake were surveyed. Posttraumatic Growth Inventory and Impact of Event Scale - Revised were used in the assessment of posttraumatic growth (PTG) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, respectively. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to explore the best predictors.

RESULTS: At one year following the earthquake, prevalence rates for posttraumatic growth and PTSD symptoms were 51.1% and 56.8%, respectively. Best predictors of posttraumatic growth were being female, younger age, higher level of education, higher degree of earthquake-related exposure and PTSD symptoms, including intrusion and hyperarousal symptoms.

LIMITATIONS: The limitations of this study lie in that no comparison was made due to the lack of pre-disaster data, so it is very hard to conclude to what extent did this earthquake affect the people there. Our participants were mainly workers from different fields. Survey of affected population in rural and remote areas was unavailable. More representative samples are needed to examine the generalizability of these findings.

CONCLUSIONS: Psychological interventions and care for survivors of Sichuan earthquake disaster should focus on females and older people who can be more affected by disasters. Besides, in order to produce positive outcomes after disasters, programs on adjustment and management of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms should be implemented.

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