Recovery from post-earthquake psychological morbidity: who suffers and who recovers?
Article first published online: 23 FEB 2002
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume 32, Issue 1, pages 15–20, February 1998
How to Cite
Lewin, T. J., Carr, V. J. and Webster, R. A. (1998), Recovery from post-earthquake psychological morbidity: who suffers and who recovers?. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 32: 15–20. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.1998.00380.x
- Issue published online: 23 FEB 2002
- Article first published online: 23 FEB 2002
- exposure factors;
- Newcastle earthquake;
- psychological morbidity;
- sociodemographic characteristics;
- vulnerability factors
Objective: We sought to identify the psychosocial characteristics of high earthquake exposure subjects that were associated with the development of post-disaster morbidity and with recovery.
Method: Data reported are from 515 participants in a longitudinal study of the psychosocial effects of the 1989 Newcastle (Australia) earthquake. Subjects were allocated to three subgroups (low morbidity; recovered; and persistent morbidity) on the basis of their Impact of Event Scale scores across the four phases of the study. Differences between these subgroups were examined on a broad range of variables.
Results: Several background, dispositional, coping style and exposure-related factors characterised those who developed psychological morbidity, only a small subset of which differentiated between those who recovered and those with persistent morbidity.
Conclusions: Post-earthquake morbidity persists longer in those who are older, have a history of emotional problems, have higher neuroticism, use more neurotic defenses, and report higher levels of post-disaster life events.