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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 1990 Summer;36(2):131-6.

Evaluation of psychiatric morbidity following an earthquake.

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  • 1Centre for Mental Health & Research, Athens, Greece.


Greece has been characterized by high earthquake activity in comparison not only with Mediterranean countries, but also with many parts of Eurasia. In the present study an assessment of the psychiatric morbidity was carried out in the city of Kalamata, Greece, two weeks after the earthquake in September, 1986. A random sample of residents divided into three categories was assessed. The participating groups consisted of 205 adults, 172 high school students and 69 adult outpatients who suffered from minor pathological problems or proceeded for a check-up without being necessarily ill. The Langner and CES-D scales were administered for the population assessment. Detailed statistical analysis revealed that the earthquake had significant psychological effects and caused a considerable degree of depression in all groups. According to the Langner Scale, 31.3% of the general population, 11.6% of the students and 40.6% of the patients exhibited 10 or more symptoms on the Langner scale indicating severe disturbance. Also 50.9% of the whole sample exhibited 6 or more symptoms indicating serious disturbance. In the CES-D scale, 79% of the general population, 69.2% of students and 75% of the outpatients exhibited 16 or more symptoms, or 74.6% of the whole sample. The observed difference between general population and students is significant on Langner scale (p less than 0.001) and on CES-D scale (p less than 0.025). The major symptoms in all groups were prevalence of severe psychiatric symptomatology, anxiety, psychosomatic disorders and depression.

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