Examining a comprehensive model of disaster-related posttraumatic stress disorder in systematically studied survivors of 10 disasters

Carol S North, Julianne Oliver, Anand Pandya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. Using a comprehensive disaster model, we examined predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combined data from 10 different disasters. Methods. The combined sample included data from 811 directly exposed survivors of 10 disasters between 1987 and 1995. We used consistent methods across all 10 disaster samples, including full diagnostic assessment. Results. In multivariate analyses, predictors of PTSD were female gender, younger age, Hispanic ethnicity, less education, ever-married status, predisaster psychopathology, disaster injury, and witnessing injury or death; exposure through death or injury to friends or family members and witnessing the disaster aftermath did not confer additional PTSD risk. Intentionally caused disasters associated with PTSD in bivariate analysis did not independently predict PTSD in multivariate analysis. Avoidance and numbing symptoms represented a PTSD marker. Conclusions. Despite confirming some previous research findings, we found no associations between PTSD and disaster typology. Prospective research is needed to determine whether early avoidance and numbing symptoms identify individuals likely to develop PTSD later. Our findings may help identify at-risk populations for treatment research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e40-e48
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume102
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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