A qualitative analysis of posttraumatic stress among Mexican victims of disaster



In unstructured interviews, 24 Mexicans described survivors' responses to disasters in Guadalajara, Jalisco (n = 9), Homestead, Florida (n = 6), and Puerto Angel, Oaxaca (n = 9). This analysis assessed the extent to which symptom descriptions corresponded to the 17 criterion symptoms of PTSD. Nineteen participants (79%) mentioned from 1 to 9 criterion symptoms. Event-related distress, hypervigilance, recurrent recollections, and avoiding reminders were described most often. Only 3 criterion symptoms were never described. Twenty participants (83%) provided 109 separate expressions that could not be classified specifically as criterion symptoms. These phrases were sorted by 9 independent Mexican volunteers and cluster analyzed. Clusters composed of ataques de nervios, depression, lasting trauma, and somatic complaints provided the best description of the data.