Reactions to the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami A Preliminary Matching Study Comparing Nurses and Civilians

and ┬žInterdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.
The Journal of nervous and mental disease (Impact Factor: 1.69). 06/2013; 201(6):534-536. DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318294828e
Source: PubMed


The research of reactions to disasters is uncommon. Moreover, most studies target a specific population, whether civilians or professionals. The aim of this study was to compare the reactions of hospital personnel and civilians after exposure to a unique disaster that combines natural and nuclear disaster. A matching sample of nurses and civilians was compared using a brief questionnaire tapping into posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, subjective health, perceived coping, life satisfaction, and meaning in life. The results revealed that the nurses had a lower level of PTSD symptoms and higher self-rated health, life satisfaction, and perceived coping in comparison with the civilians. These results are discussed in light of work characteristics that include exposure to traumatic events as part of their work and coping that is partially based on training.

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    ABSTRACT: A comprehensive study was conducted 8 months after the 2010 Yushu earthquake to assess the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among medical rescuers and the rescuers' quality of life. Additionally, the study examines differences between local and supporting forces, as well as the relationship between PTSD and lower quality of life (QoL), and the risk factors for both. A total of 338 rescuers (including 123 local rescuers and 215 supporting ones) were randomly selected from Yushu County (the epicenter) and Xining City using multistage systematic sampling. Two standardized instruments, the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) and the Chinese version of the WHOQOL-BREF, were used to evaluate the prevalence of PTSD and obtain the rescuers' QoL. Being between 40 and 50 years old, a nurse, Tibetan, having been in serious danger or having received mental health training before this earthquake were significantly and independently associated with PTSD symptoms. Compared with supporting rescuers, local rescuers were more likely to develop PTSD and to report a lower QoL. Additional mental health services and training should be available to at-risk medical rescuers and groups to ensure they are adequately prepared for relief efforts and to maintain their mental health after assistance in disaster relief.
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