• Disaster-related Psychological Screening Test;
  • earthquake survivors;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

Aims:  To predict the longitudinal course of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in survivors three years following a catastrophic earthquake using multivariate data presented six months after the earthquake.

Methods:  Trained assistants and psychiatrists used the Disaster-related Psychological Screening Test (DRPST) to interview earthquake survivors 16 years and older and to assess current and incidental psychopathology. A total of 1756 respondents were surveyed over the three-year follow-up period.

Results:  A total of 38 (9.1%) of the original 418 PTSD subjects and 40 of the original 1338 (3.0%) non-PTSD subjects were identified as having PTSD at the 3-year post-earthquake follow up. Younger age, significant financial loss, and memory/attention impairment were predictive factors of unresolved PTSD and delayed PTSD.

Conclusions:  The longitudinal course of PTSD three years after the earthquake could be predicted as early as six months after the earthquake on the basis of demographic data, PTSD-related factors, and putative factors for PTSD.