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J Immigr Minor Health. 2014 Dec;16(6):1201-7. doi: 10.1007/s10903-013-9815-7.

Employing a community based participatory research approach to bear witness: psycho-social impact of the 2010 earthquake on Haitians in Somerville, MA.

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  • 1Community Health Program, Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences, 112 Packard Avenue, Somerville, MA, 02144, USA,


We employed a community-based participatory research approach to assess mental health among the Haitian community in the Somerville, MA area. The development of the survey coincided with the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and so several questions related to the natural disaster were included in the analysis to increase understanding of the impact locally. We surveyed a convenience sample of 64 Haitians recruited with the assistance of the Somerville Haitian Coalition. The survey assessed demographic data, reasons for migrating to the area, response to the 2010 earthquake, and mental health. Mental health measures included the short versions of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and the Perceived Stress Scale. Participants reported high rates of stress and depression post-earthquake. On the CES-D, men reported higher average depression and stress scores than women (13.8 vs. 11 and 20.6 vs. 17.6). Our results suggest that social and family support resources may be beneficial to Haitians in our sample.

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