A cross-sectional study on posttraumatic stress disorder among elderly Qiang citizens 3 years after the Wenchuan earthquake in China

Guanghua Chen, Huizhang Shen, Guangming Chen
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie 2012, 57 (9): 547-53

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to identify the associated risk factors among elderly citizens belonging to the Qiang ethnic minority group 3 years after the Wenchuan earthquake in China.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of 287 respondents aged 60 years and older was conducted to collect data in Beichuan County, a heavily damaged area. PTSD was assessed according to the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Independent demographic, socioeconomic and trauma exposure variables were also measured. Association between the independent variables and PTSD was analyzed using logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: The prevalence of PTSD was 22.65% among elderly Qiang citizens in Beichuan County. Being female, being widowed, having a low level of education, having low monthly income, suffering bodily injury, being bereaved, and having a low level of social support were risk factors significantly related to the development of PTSD.

CONCLUSION: The results indicate that PTSD remained at an elevated level among elderly Qiang citizens in the heavily damaged area 3 years after the Wenchuan earthquake. Effective and sustainable mental health services are needed and should be directed particularly to the elderly Qiang citizens who are among the groups most vulnerable to the direct impact of the earthquake.

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