To measure the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder and emotional distress among victims of the Saguenay flood compared with those who were not affected by the flood.
Cross-sectional study using a telephone survey of victims and a control group.
Sixty-two adults in a flooded area and a control group of 79 volunteers chosen randomly from an adjacent area.
Diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder measured using the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index and high scores on the Self-Reporting Questionnaire on emotional distress.
Socially and demographically, study group and control group were comparable. Prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in the study group was close to 20% (odds ratio [OR] 6.08; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.63 to 22.64). Prevalence of emotional distress in the study group was 29% (OR 2.42; 95% CI 1.04 to 5.61).
The Saguenay flood caused psychological distress that was measurable 4 months later. Health care professionals should be aware of the psychological effects of natural disasters.
Cites: J Nerv Ment Dis. 1987 May;175(5):286-903572380