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Aging Ment Health. 2006 May;10(3):303-11.

Ageing and psychological response during the post-SARS period.

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  • 1Sau Po Centre on Ageing, The University of Hong Kong.


We studied the psychological impact of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to understand if age and residential location were risk factors associated with post-traumatic disturbance, namely intrusion, avoidance, and hyperarousal. One hundred and forty-six volunteers belonging to four groups classified along the dimensions of age (middle-aged versus older-aged) and location (high SARS-prevalent regions versus low SARS-prevalent regions), participated in this study. After controlling for depression, residents in high SARS-prevalent regions, regardless of age, consistently developed more intense post-traumatic disturbance than residents in low SARS-prevalent regions. Furthermore, the prevalence of probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases was significantly higher in older people and in residents of SARS-prevalent regions. Our findings suggest the importance of mental health aftercare in the post-epidemic period of disease epidemics.

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