Acute postdisaster psychiatric disorders: identification of persons at risk

Elizabeth M. Smith, Carol S North, Robert E. McCool, James M. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


This study examined the prevalence of four psychiatric disorders - posttraumatic stress disorder, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and alcohol abuse/dependence - in survivors of a jet plane crash into a hotel. Forty-six subjects were interviewed with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule/Disaster Supplement within 4-6 weeks of the event. More than half of the subjects met criteria for a psychiatric disorder after the disaster. More than two-thirds of the cases of acute postdisaster psychiatric disorders were predicted by identifying the subjects who had predisaster psychiatric histories. Predisaster psychiatric disorder predicted postdisaster psychopathology with a sensitivity of 72% and a specificity of 90%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-206
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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