Depressive Symptoms in Bereaved Parents in the 2008 Wenchuan, China Earthquake: A Cohort Study


  • The present study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31070920) and Research Program for Humanities and Social Science Granted by Chinese Ministry of Education (09YJAXLX008, This study was also supported by Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science of Guangdong Province, South China Normal University, and Research Center for Crisis Intervention and Psychological Service of Guangdong Province, South China Normal University.

  • The authors offer their sincere thanks to all participants and to the Chengdu Women's Federation, the Dujiangyan Women's Federation, the Xiang'e Women's Federation, and the Xiang'e township government. Also, the authors wish to acknowledge and thank Cuilin Zhou and Wen Mei in South China Normal University for their help in data collection. Finally, the authors thank four anonymous reviewers for their valuable input on the manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Fang Fan, South China Normal University, Applied Psychology Center, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. E-mail:


This study sought to expand the literature on bereavement and response to natural disasters by reporting the prevalence, severity, and correlates of depressive symptoms among bereaved and nonbereaved parents of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake in China. Bereaved (n = 155) and nonbereaved (n = 35) parents from the Xiang'e township in China were interviewed at 18 months (Wave 1) and 24 months (Wave 2) following the earthquake. From Wave 1 to Wave 2, rates of probable depression fell for both bereaved (65.8% to 44.5%) and nonbereaved parents (34.3% to 20.0%). The depression index of both groups also decreased, but only significantly among bereaved parents. Of bereaved parents, those with fewer years of education had more severe symptoms at both waves. Depressive symptom severity of bereaved mothers improved over time, but that of bereaved fathers remained unchanged. Not becoming pregnant again after the earthquake was significantly linked to worse depressive symptoms in both waves, but this was not significant when age was added to the model. Bereaved parents may need more postearthquake supportive services, with fathers, individuals with fewer years of education, and parents who are not able to become pregnant again after the earthquake being particularly vulnerable.

Traditional and Simplified Chinese Abstracts by AsianSTSS


撮要:本文檢視孩童喪親後HPA軸功能(包括皮質醇睡醒反應;CAR) 與心理困擾、應對、和另一尚存家長的悲傷反應之間的關係。樣本包括38名孩童(20名女童曾在過去6個月有家長離世)和28名尚存的孩童家長(23名女性),他們會接受自我答問工具和半結構面談,而面談包括討論孩童對喪親的想法及感受,面談後連續三日,受訪者會提供3個在家唾液樣本(睡醒時,30分鐘後和黃昏時)。結果顯示孩童第1天CAR減退與更多焦慮症狀(r= -.45) 、 抑鬱症狀(r= -.40) 、 創傷後壓力症狀(r= -.45) 、不適應哀悼症狀(r= -.43) 和迴避性應對水平(r= -.53)有顯著關連。家長的更高不適應哀悼水平(r= -.47) 亦與孩童第1天CAR減退有關連。這些數據突出了減弱的CAR可能是累積穩態負荷和(又或)情緒上刺激的事件(與死者相關的討論),及在家庭中相關的後續處理(或缺少處理)而導致的。這些可能對喪親兒童(已經歷高度心理困擾、迴避應對和家長的不適應哀悼)來說已是特別壓力。


撮要:本文检视孩童丧亲后HPA轴功能(包括皮质醇睡醒反应;CAR) 与心理困扰、应对、和另一尚存家长的悲伤反应之间的关系。样本包括38名孩童(20名女童曾在过去6个月有家长离世)和28名尚存的孩童家长(23名女性),他们会接受自我答问工具和半结构面谈,而面谈包括讨论孩童对丧亲的想法及感受,面谈后连续三日,受访者会提供3个在家唾液样本(睡醒时,30分钟后和黄昏时)。结果显示孩童第1天CAR减退与更多焦虑症状(r= -.45) 、 抑郁症状(r= -.40) 、 创伤后压力症状(r= -.45) 、不适应哀悼症状(r= -.43) 和回避性应对水平(r= -.53)有显著关连。家长的更高不适应哀悼水平(r= -.47) 亦与孩童第1天CAR减退有关连。这些数据突出了减弱的CAR可能是累积稳态负荷和(又或)情绪上刺激的事件(与死者相关的讨论),及在家庭中相关的后续处理(或缺少处理)而导致的。这些可能对丧亲儿童(已经历高度心理困扰、回避应对和家长的不适应哀悼)来说已是特别压力。