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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1987 May;175(5):286-90.

Acute posttraumatic stress disorder in victims of a natural disaster.


Five months after a tornado devastated a rural community in eastern North Carolina, the authors surveyed the mental health status of 116 disaster victims, using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL) expanded to include most of DSM-III criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A total of 69 (59%) victims met the criteria for acute PTSD, 19 of whom had a severe form. Although an inadequate degree of social support was more often noted in victims with severe PTSD, other demographic factors and degree of injury or property damage did not appear to be related to the presence of PTSD. Severity or presence of PTSD was supported by high scores on all HSCL subscale factors. These findings suggest a high incidence of acute PTSD in victims of natural disasters and the potential value of HSCL in screening for PTSD in large populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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