Surveys investigated the perceived threat of radioactive fallout and public coping following a "silent disaster" (Chernobyl) across Europe. Survey data from national representative samples in 12 European countries are compiled, 6 months and 2 years after the accident, across 12 countries. Exposure to information about the accident, and perception of the consequences of Chernobyl as a health threat, were significantly related to the level of fallout in each country. Another significant relationship was found between the level of fallout in these 12 countries and the proportion of respondents who reported having taken countermeasures. Information challenges for the authorities are highlighted.
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.
BACKGROUND: Few studies have explored the long-term mental health consequences of disaster losses in bereaved, either exposed to the disaster themselves or not. This study examined the prevalence and predictors of mental disorders and psychological distress in bereaved individuals either directly or not directly exposed to the 2004 tsunami disaster. METHOD: A cross-sectional study of 111 bereaved Norwegians (32 directly and 79 not directly exposed) was conducted 2 years postdisaster. We used a face-to-face structured clinical interview to diagnose current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression (major depressive disorder, MDD) and a self-report scale to measure prolonged grief disorder (PGD). RESULTS: The prevalence of psychiatric disorders was twice as high among individuals directly exposed to the disaster compared to individuals who were not directly exposed (46.9 vs. 22.8 per 100). The prevalence of disorders among the directly exposed was PTSD (34.4%), MDD (25%), and PGD (23.3%), whereas the prevalence among the not directly exposed was PGD (14.3%), MDD (10.1%), and PTSD (5.2%). The co-occurrence of disorders was higher among the directly exposed (21.9 vs. 5.2%). Low education and loss of a child predicted PGD, whereas direct exposure to the disaster predicted PTSD. All three disorders were independently associated with functional impairment. CONCLUSIONS: The dual burden of direct trauma and loss can inflict a complex set of long-term reactions and mental health problems in bereaved individuals. The relationship between PGD and impaired functioning actualizes the incorporation of PGD in future diagnostic manuals of psychiatric disorders.
Victims of violent assault experience diverse post-event emotional problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and they may have multiple emotional problems. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence and predictors of PTSD in a longitudinal design.
The levels of physical injury, perceived life threat, prior experience of violence, peritraumatic dissociation (PD), acute PTSD, perceived self-efficacy and perceived social support are considered possible predictors. This study had a single group (N = 70), longitudinal design with three repeated measures over a period of 12 months. Questionnaires used were: Impact of Event Scale-15 and 22 (IES-15 and 22), Post-Traumatic Symptom Scale-10 (PTSS-10), Peritraumatic Dissociation (PD) 7-item self-report measure, Social Provisions Scale (SPS) and Generalized Self-Efficacy scale (GSE).
Results showed a high prevalence and severity of PTSD on all outcomes, for instance 31% scored as probable PTSD-cases and 14% as risk level cases by IES-15 at T3. Either injury severity or prior experience of being a victim of violence predicted PTSD in this study. Early PTSD predicted subsequent PTSD, and perceived life threat was a predictor of PD. Furthermore, lack of perceived social support was a predictor of PTSD symptoms at T3. In addition, low perceived self-efficacy was a predictor of PTSD and influenced perceived social support at T1.
Our results showed that experience of non-domestic violence may cause serious chronic emotional problems, and therefore it is important to be aware of early symptoms indicating needs for special follow-ups.