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Abstract

In 2003, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) severely hit Hong Kong. We conducted a series of five studies examining the psychological impacts of SARS on the sufferers. Results showed that (1) various psychiatric complications emerged in the acute treatment phase; (2) certain types of behavioral and verbal responses of health-care workers (HCWs) were able to ameliorate the psychological distress of the sufferers in the acute phase; (3) the short-term adjustment outcomes of the sufferers were unsatisfactory; (4) ‘being an HCW’ and ‘having a family member killed by SARS’ were risk factors predisposing individuals to the development of high distress after discharge; and (5) after controlling for the effects of demographic and risk factors psychosocial factors such as social support, negative appraisal (or perceived impact), positive appraisal (or post-traumatic growth) and self-efficacy could account for substantial variances of differential outcomes including symptoms of anxiety and depression, quality of life and perceived health of the sufferers. This practitioner report aims to summarize the key findings, which have significant clinical implications in the provision of psychological intervention to the sufferers of SARS or other comparable infectious diseases. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.