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Abstract

This study compared the psychological status of rescue personnel who had formal training (Red Crescent workers, i.e., Red Cross workers, and firefighters) with university student volunteers who had no formal training in handling traumatic situations in the Bam earthquake. One hundred student volunteers, 18 Red Crescent workers, and 36 firefighters participated in this study. Participants completed the Civilian Mississippi Scale, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28), and the Anxiety Sensitivity Index. Helpers without formal training showed higher scores on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and GHQ subscales compared to trained rescue personnel. In addition, a significant number of volunteers without formal training met criteria for a possible PTSD diagnosis by scoring above the cut-off point for the Mississippi scale. Those who had higher scores on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index showed greater adverse psychological effects.