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PLoS One. 2014 Dec 23;9(12):e115013. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115013. eCollection 2014.

Psychological sequelae of the station nightclub fire: Comparing survivors with and without physical injuries using a mixed-methods analysis.

Author information

1
Massachusetts General Hospital Depression Clinical and Research Program, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
2
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America; Spaulding Center of Neuromodulation, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
3
Spaulding Center of Neuromodulation, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
4
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, and Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
5
Sumner Redstone Burn Center, Surgical Services Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, and Shriners Hospitals for Children-Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
6
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Surveying survivors from a large fire provides an opportunity to explore the impact of emotional trauma on psychological outcomes.

METHODS:

This is a cross-sectional survey of survivors of The Station Fire. Primary outcomes were post-traumatic stress (Impact of Event Scale - Revised) and depressive (Beck Depression Inventory) symptoms. Linear regression was used to examine differences in symptom profiles between those with and without physical injuries. The free-response section of the survey was analyzed qualitatively to compare psychological sequelae of survivors with and without physical injuries.

RESULTS:

104 participants completed the study survey; 47% experienced a burn injury. There was a 42% to 72% response rate range. The mean age of respondents was 32 years, 62% were male, and 47% experienced a physical injury. No significant relationships were found between physical injury and depressive or post-traumatic stress symptom profiles. In the qualitative analysis, the emotional trauma that survivors experienced was a major, common theme regardless of physical injury. Survivors without physical injuries were more likely to experience survivor guilt, helplessness, self-blame, and bitterness. Despite the post-fire challenges described, most survivors wrote about themes of recovery and renewal.

CONCLUSIONS:

All survivors of this large fire experienced significant psychological sequelae. These findings reinforce the importance of mental health care for all survivors and suggest a need to understand factors influencing positive outcomes.

PMID:
25536085
PMCID:
PMC4275219
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0115013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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