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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2019 Feb;13(1):82-89. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2019.12.

Post-Hurricane Distress Scale (PHDS): A Novel Tool for First Responders and Disaster Researchers.

Author information

1
San Juan Bautista School of Medicine,Caguas,Puerto Rico.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was the construction and validation of a novel research instrument to quantify the degree of post-hurricane trauma and distress in an affected population. The Post-Hurricane Distress Scale (PHDS) has quantitative measures of both acute and prolonged distress, attributable to meteorological and hydrological disasters.

METHODS:

A careful evaluation of existing questionnaires, as well as extensive canvasing of the post-Maria population of Puerto Rico, availed the construction of the PHDS. The PHDS consists of 20 items, organized into 4 subscales. The PHDS was pre-validated (n=79), revised, and then distributed to a broad sampling of the post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rican population (n=597). Validation, including factor analysis, analyses of concurrent validity, discriminant validity, and internal reliability, was performed.

RESULTS:

After comparing various scales, factor loading profiles, concurrent validities, and models of fit, we show that the PHDS is best scored as a single 0-6 distress scale. When compared with the Traumatic Exposure Severity Scale, the PHDS shows superior concurrent validity, more accurately predicting scores for the Peritraumatic Distress Inventory, Impact of Event Scale - Revised, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 Scale. The PHDS shows good internal reliability and discriminant validity.

CONCLUSIONS:

The PHDS represents a novel, useful instrument for disaster first-responders and researchers. The prompt identification of high-risk populations is possible using this instrument. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:82-89).

KEYWORDS:

disasters; emergency responders; hurricane; posttraumatic; psychological stress; stress disorders

PMID:
30841955
DOI:
10.1017/dmp.2019.12

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