Psychiatric morbidity following Hurricane Andrew

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Abstract

The nature of psychiatric morbidity in previously non-ill subjects from the area most affected by Hurricane Andrew was investigated at 6–12 months posthurricane. Preliminary associations of morbidity with personal and event-related risk factors were also determined. Fifty one percent (31/61) met criteria for a new-onset disorder, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 36%, major depression (MD) in 30%, and other anxiety disorders in 20%. Thirty four subjects (56%) had significant symptoms persisting beyond 6 months. Having sustained “severe damage” was the risk factor most strongly associated with outcome. Our data underscore the range of psychiatric morbidity related to a natural disaster, and suggest a relationship to chronic stressors.

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