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Can J Psychiatry. 2006 May;51(6):350-4.

An epidemiologic study of posttraumatic stress disorder in flood victims in Hunan China.

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  • 1School of Public Health, Center South University, Changsha, Hunan, China.



To estimate the occurrence and to assess the determinants of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in flood victims.


We carried out a retrospective study to examine the occurrence and the determinants of PTSD in victims of flood in 1998 and 1999 in Hunan, China. We used multistage sampling to select the subjects from the flood areas, and we ascertained PTSD according to DSM-IV criteria. Data were collected in face-to-face interviews carried out by experienced research assistants using a preconstructed questionnaire. We used a multiple logistic regression model to analyze the data.


A total of 33 340 subjects (86.0% of the selected subjects, aged 7 years or over) in the study villages were interviewed. Among them, 2875 (8.6%) had symptoms that met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Significant risk factors for PTSD included female sex (odds ratio [OR] 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04 to 1.21), older age (age 18 to 59 years OR 2.28; 95%CI, 2.02 to 2.57, and age > or = 60 years OR 2.42; 95%CI, 2.05 to 2.85), flood type (collapsed embankment OR 1.84; 95%CI, 1.64 to 2.05, and flash flood OR 3.12; 95%CI, 2.76 to 3.52), and flood severity (intermediate OR 4.05; 95%CI, 3.55 to 4.62, and severe OR 2.98; 95%CI, 2.60 to 3.41).


PTSD is a common mental disorder in flood victims, which implies the need for improved health services, especially mental health services, for this population.

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