To study changes in religious beliefs and predictors of such changes in a community sample exposed to a natural disaster, and to investigate whether religiosity was linked to post-disaster mental distress or life satisfaction.
An adult population of 1,180 Norwegian tourists who experienced the 2004 tsunami was surveyed by a postal questionnaire 2 years after the disaster. Data included religiosity, disaster exposure, general psychopathology, posttraumatic stress and life satisfaction.
Among the respondents, 8% reported strengthening and 5% reported weakening of their religious beliefs. Strengthening was associated with pre-tsunami mental health problems (OR: 1.82, 95% CI: 1.12-2.95) and posttraumatic stress (OR: 1.62, 95% CI: 1.22-2.16). Weakening was associated with younger age (OR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.96-1.00) and posttraumatic stress (OR: 1.72, 95% CI: 1.23-2.41). Two years after the tsunami, 11% of the sample considered themselves to be positively religious. There were no significant differences in posttraumatic stress, general psychopathology or life satisfaction between religious and non-religious groups.
Religion did not play an important role in the lives of Norwegian tsunami survivors in general. Respondents who had the greatest disaster exposure were more likely to report changes in religious beliefs in both directions. Religious beliefs did not prevent post-disaster long-term mental distress, and religiosity was not related to higher levels of life satisfaction.
Cites: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2000 Jan 30;120(3):346-810827526
There is limited research on the relevance of family structures to the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress following disasters. We longitudinally studied the effects of marital and parental statuses on posttraumatic stress reactions after the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami and whether persons in the same households had more shared stress reactions than others.
The study included a tourist population of 641 Norwegian adult citizens, many of them from families with children. We measured posttraumatic stress symptoms with the Impact of Event Scale-Revised at 6 months and 2 years post-disaster. Analyses included multilevel methods with mixed effects models.
Results showed that neither marital nor parental status was significantly related to posttraumatic stress. At both assessments, adults living in the same household reported levels of posttraumatic stress that were more similar to one another than adults who were not living together. Between households, disaster experiences were closely related to the variance in posttraumatic stress symptom levels at both assessments. Within households, however, disaster experiences were less related to the variance in symptom level at 2 years than at 6 months.
These results indicate that adult household members may influence one another's posttraumatic stress reactions as well as their interpretations of the disaster experiences over time. Our findings suggest that multilevel methods may provide important information about family processes after disasters.
Self-efficacy may be an important factor in individuals' recovery from posttraumatic stress reactions after a natural disaster. However, few longitudinal studies have investigated whether self-efficacy predicts the course of posttraumatic recovery beyond lower initial levels of distress. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether general self-efficacy is related to recovery from posttraumatic stress reactions from a longitudinal perspective.
A total of 617 Norwegians exposed to the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami completed self-report questionnaires measuring their level of disaster exposure and general self-efficacy at 6 months and posttraumatic stress reactions 6 months and 2 years post-disaster. Predictors of changes in posttraumatic stress reactions were analyzed with multivariate mixed effects models.
Self-efficacy at 6 months post-disaster was unrelated to trauma exposure and inversely related to posttraumatic stress reactions at 6 months and 2 years post-disaster. However, self-efficacy was not related to recovery from posttraumatic stress reactions between 6 months and 2 years post-disaster.
In conclusion, general self-efficacy is related to lower levels of posttraumatic stress reactions in the first months after a disaster but does not appear to be related to improved recovery rates over the longer term.
We examined nonparticipation in a 2-year postdisaster mail survey of Norwegian tourists evacuated from countries affected by the 2004 tsunami. One hundred seventy-one persons out of a random sample of 330 nonparticipants were telephone interviewed concerning disaster exposure, current posttraumatic stress reactions, and reasons for not participating. Fewer nonparticipants than participants had been in a place directly affected by the tsunami. Nonparticipants reported less perceived threat of death and lower levels of posttraumatic stress reactions. Reasons for not participating were "lack of interest or time" (39.2%), "lack of relevant experiences" (32.2%), and "too personal or emotionally disturbing" (15.2%). Our findings suggest that postdisaster studies may be biased in the direction of more severe disaster exposure and pronounced posttraumatic stress reactions.
Quality of life (QoL) may often be reduced in survivors of a natural disaster. This paper investigated how posttraumatic growth (PTG), depression and posttraumatic stress interact and independently predict QoL in a longitudinal study of disaster survivors.
A total of 58 Norwegian adults who were present in Khao Lak, Thailand at the time of the 2004 Southeast Asia Tsunami completed self-report questionnaires 2 and 6 years after the disaster. The participants reported symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress as well as PTG and QoL. Multiple mixed effects regression analyses were used to determine the independent effects of PTG, depression and posttraumatic stress on QoL measured 2 and 6 years after the disaster.
Posttraumatic stress and depression were negatively related to QoL. PTG was not significantly related to QoL in a bivariate analysis. However, considerable interaction effects were found. Six years after the tsunami, high levels of posttraumatic stress were related to lower QoL in those participants with low levels of PTG, whereas lower levels of depression were related to higher QoL in those participants with high levels of PTG.
Posttraumatic stress and depression are negatively associated with QoL after a natural disaster. PTG may serve as a moderating factor in this relationship.
Cites: Qual Life Res. 2004 Aug;13(6):1089-9715287275
Bereavement following disasters is a devastating experience for family members. The aim of this study was to examine the long-term mental health effects of losing a loved one in a natural disaster.
Ninety-four Norwegians aged 18-80 years who lost close family members in the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami were evaluated 2 and 6 years after the disaster. The participants were either staying in an affected area at the time of the disaster (i.e., directly exposed) or not (i.e., not directly exposed). The prevalence of psychiatric disorders was assessed by the MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I). Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) was self-reported using the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), and functional impairment was self-reported using the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS).
We did not identify a significant decrease in the prevalence of PGD, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or major depressive disorder (MDD) from 2 to 6 years. Approximately, one-third of the bereaved (36%) had a psychiatric disorder 6 years after the tsunami. The most common disorder was PGD (12%) followed by general anxiety disorder (GAD, 11%), agoraphobia (11%), and MDD (10%). The prevalence of PTSD and MDD was higher among family members who were directly exposed to the disaster compared to those who were not (21 vs. 0%, and 25 vs. 3%). PGD was associated with functional impairment independent of other disorders.
Loss of a close family member in a natural disaster can have a substantial adverse long-term effect on mental health and everyday functioning.
The study investigated the impact of psychiatric disorders on Quality of Life (QOL) cross-sectionally and longitudinally in a group of Norwegian tourists severely exposed to the 2004 tsunami.
Sixty-two adult Norwegian tsunami survivors were interviewed face to face 2 years post-tsunami (T1) and 58 were interviewed again by telephone 6 years post-tsunami (T2). The majority (81 %) reported direct exposure to the waves, and 14 participants (23 %) lost a close family member in the tsunami. Psychiatric morbidity was measured by structured clinical interviews and QOL was assessed with WHO's Quality of Life-Bref scale. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to assess the independent effects of psychiatric disorders on QOL 2 and 6 years after the tsunami.
Psychiatric disorders, especially depression, but also PTSD and other anxiety disorders, were associated with reduced QOL. Psychiatric disorders were more strongly related to QOL at 6 years after the tsunami than at 2 years.
Psychiatric disorders, and especially depression, is related to reduced QOL in a disaster exposed population. Post-disaster psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD and especially depression, should be addressed properly in the aftermath of disasters.
Cites: Nord J Psychiatry. 2011 Feb;65(1):9-1520429748