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Am J Psychiatry. 1997 Mar;154(3):415-7.

Postdisaster psychosocial intervention: a field study of the impact of debriefing on psychological distress.

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1
University of Hawaii at Manoa, HI, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Following a catastrophic natural disaster, the authors evaluated whether brief psychological intervention (debriefing 6 months later) reduced disaster-related psychological distress as measured by the Impact of Event Scale.

METHOD:

Two groups of subjects who had been exposed to Hurricane Iniki in Hawaii were assessed before and after participating in a multihour debriefing group. The intervention aimed to provide ventilation of feelings, normalization of responses, and education about normal psychological reactions to the disaster in a context of group support. To provide a partial control for the passage of time, the pretreatment assessment of the second group was concurrent with the posttreatment assessment of the first group.

RESULTS:

A repeated measures analysis of variance indicated that Impact of Event Scale scores were reduced in both groups after the treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is preliminary empirical support for the effectiveness of postdisaster psychological intervention and for the feasibility of treatment research in postdisaster environments.

PMID:
9054792
DOI:
10.1176/ajp.154.3.415
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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