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Compr Psychiatry. 2005 Sep-Oct;46(5):328-33.

One-year follow-up study of posttraumatic stress disorder among earthquake survivors in Turkey.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Harran University Faculty of Medicine, 63100 Sanliurfa, Turkey.


Earthquakes and their consequences present a major global public health problem. In 1998, a major earthquake struck Southern Turkey. The aims of this study were to describe longitudinally the severity and the course of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among earthquake survivors in Turkey and to explore risk factors associated with psychiatric disorders. The sample of this study consists of 105 consecutive subjects who used our psychiatric service, via either outpatient clinic or home visit. PTSD was assessed by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. The severity of depression was assessed using Beck Depression Inventory. The rates of earthquake-related Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition PTSD were 42% within 1 month and 23% within 13 months. The diagnosis of PTSD was significantly related to the presence of injury and to less social support in the initial assessment. In the follow-up assessment, although the mean total Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale severity score improved significantly, the mean Beck Depression Inventory score did not change significantly. The decrease in posttraumatic stress symptoms 13 months after the earthquake may be related to relatively good living conditions and adequate social and health services. Early mental health intervention may serve to prevent the chronicity of posttraumatic stress reactions among earthquake victims.

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