Prevalence, characteristics, and long-term sequelae of natural disaster exposure in the general population



A sample of 935 participants from the general population completed a mail-out questionnaire containing the Trauma Symptom Inventory (J. Briere, 1995) and the Traumatic Events Survey (D. M. Elliott, 1992). The lifetime seif-reported prevalence of natural disasters in this sample was 22%. Although time from the last disaster to involvement in the study was an average of 13 years, previous disaster was associated with significantly higher scores on 6 of 10 symptom scales. Disaster characteristics (especially the presence of physical injury, fear of death, and property loss) were better predictors of symptomatology than was disaster type. Disaster exposure continued to predict symptomatology after controlling for interpersonal violence history, although interpersonal violence accounted for more overall symptom variance.