JOURNAL ARTICLE

One-year follow-up analysis of cognitive and psychological consequences among survivors of the Wenchuan earthquake

Jiuping Xu, Zhibin Wu
International Journal of Psychology: Journal International de Psychologie 2011 April 1, 46 (2): 144-52
22044186
The catastrophic Wenchuan earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale occurred on May 12, 2008 in the West of the Sichuan basin in China and caused severe damage. A project was undertaken to examine the cognitive and psychological effects one year after the disaster among 2080 individuals in the local area. We evaluated the influence of gender, age, education level, and ethnic group on five aspects: work satisfaction, living satisfaction, health self-perception, psychological pressure, and psychological recovery. Male subjects had a better performance in all five aspects, which indicated that women were more affected. Subjects of different ethnic groups showed significantly different attitudes with respect to psychological pressure and psychological recovery. Significant differences for all the five aspects were also found in education level and age. The results showed that older people and those with a lower education level probably had more psychological problems. There were significant correlations between work satisfaction and living satisfaction, living satisfaction and health self-perception, living satisfaction and psychological recovery, and psychological pressure and psychosocial recovery. Living satisfaction and education level were significant predictors of psychological pressure. For psychological recovery, significant predictors were living satisfaction, age, work satisfaction, education level, and gender. The study findings indicated that government programs should provide more support for females, older people, those with a lower education level, and those in lower living conditions. Attention should be given not only to the psychological effects on each victim, but also to related issues such as work and living conditions to promote psychological wellbeing. Limitations of this study are addressed.

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