Different types of exposure to the 2004 tsunami are associated with different levels of psychological distress and posttraumatic stress

Authors


  • This work was supported by the Stockholm County Council. We would like to acknowledge Tom Lundin who was commissioned by the National Board of Health and Welfare to be responsible for the collection of data.

Abstract

The impact of traumatic exposure on psychological distress and posttraumatic stress was investigated at 14 months through self-report in 1,505 Swedish tourists who survived the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Exposure, differentiated in single and multiple types, was associated with different levels of impaired mental health measured by General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). Additionally, having sole exposure to subjective life threat brought about specific psychological effects. Some demographic factors are associated with outcome on either the GHQ or the IES-R. Identifying specific types of exposure of disaster survivors may be a way to identify individuals who could be screened for psychological ill health at a later point in time.

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