• earthquake;
  • Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (MOS SF-36);
  • Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI);
  • quality of life;
  • risk factors.

Objective:  To investigate quality of life and related risk factors of Taiwanese earthquake survivors with different psychiatric disorders 21 months after the earthquake.

Method:  This was a population survey. Trained assistants used the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (MOS SF-36) and questionnaires to interview 461 respondents (209 males and 252 females) 16 years or older who were equally exposed to the earthquake. Psychiatrists interviewed the same respondents using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), with an adjusted response rate of 79.9%.

Results:  The prevalence of varied psychiatric disorders in earthquake survivors ranged from 3.3% to 18%. However, there was almost a positive trend in quality of life in survivors among the following groups: posttraumatic stress disorder combined with major depressive episode; major depressive episode; posttraumatic stress disorder; other psychiatric diseases; and healthy mentality groups on the physical aspect or mental aspect of the MOS SF-36. When survivors were elderly or female and had experienced prominent financial loss immediately after the earthquake, social network change, and mental impairment, their quality of life tended to be worse.

Conclusion:  The earthquake survivors had a higher percentage of psychiatric disorders. The risk factors that affected quality of life in survivors were age, female sex, financial loss, social network change, and mental impairment.