Preliminary report of psychiatric disorders in survivors of a severe earthquake

  • Sharan P
  • Chaudhary G
  • Kavathekar S
 et al. 
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OBJECTIVE: The authors' goal was to study psychiatric morbidity after a natural disaster in rural India. METHOD: As members of a volunteer medical team assigned to 23 households in three villages in India affected by an earthquake, the authors examined the results of semi-structured interviews used to interview all of the adults (older than 14 years) in these households (N=56). DSM-III-R diagnoses were assigned on the basis of these interviews, and non-parametric tests were applied to comparisons of subjects who were or were not given a psychiatric diagnosis. RESULTS: Thirty-three (59%) of the subjects received a psychiatric diagnosis; the most common diagnoses were posttraumatic stress disorder (13 subjects [23%]) and major depression (12 subjects [21%]). Psychiatric morbidity was associated with female sex, destruction of house, and destruction of possessions. CONCLUSIONS: Attention to the mental health needs of disaster survivors in third world countries is indicated.

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