Assessment of prevalence and determinants of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms in adults survivors of earthquake in Haiti after 30 months

Jude Mary Cénat, Daniel Derivois
Journal of Affective Disorders 2014, 159: 111-7

BACKGROUND: On January 12, 2010, a powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Republic of Haiti and destroyed Port-au-Prince, the capital and others cities across the country. While some studies have examined the long-term traumatic effects of the seismic event on children and adolescents victims, so far no study has examined the consequences on adults generally. As such, this study aims to investigate the traumatic consequences of the earthquake among adults related to degree of exposure, peritraumatic distress, depressive symptoms and sociodemographic factors two and a half years after. In addition, predictive factors of PTSD and depressive symptoms were also identified.

METHODS: From June to July 2012, a total of 1355 adults (660 women) was assessed by means the traumatic exposure questionnaire, the Life Events Checklist subscale, the Peritraumatic Distress Inventory (PDI), the Impact of Event Scale - Revised (IES-R) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), in addition to social demographic characteristics.

RESULTS: The prevalence rates of PTSD and depressive symptoms were 36.75% (498 cases) and 25.98% (352 cases) respectively. The risk factors for PTSD and depressive symptoms were young and old age, female gender, unemployed status and low level of education. The bests predictives variables were peritraumatic distress for PTSD (β=.57, p<.0001) and for depressive symptoms (β=.21, p<.0001). The commorbidity between PTSD and depression was 13.36%.

CONCLUSIONS: This study found that psychological symptoms are frequent event 30 months after the earthquake. The different mental health care providers, the public health ministry, NGOs working on the ground in Haiti should design programmes in order to aid the psychological wellbeing of the population focussing on youth, older and retired adults, females, people with low levels of education and those who do not work.

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