One-year follow up of PTSD and depression in elderly aboriginal people in Taiwan after Typhoon Morakot

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Abstract

Aim:

This paper describes a 1-year follow-up of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology and depression in an elderly minority population who experienced Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan.

Methods:

The PTSD Symptom Scale – Interview and the 10-item short form Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale were used to examine PTSD symptomatology and depression in 120 victims at 3–6 months and in 88 victims (73.3% reinterview rate) at 11–12 months after the disaster. Further, we looked for associations between stress, prognosis, and development of PTSD symptomatology and depression.

Results:

The prevalence of PTSD symptomatology decreased from 29.2% (35/120) at 3–6 months to 15.9% (14/88) at 11–12 months. The prevalence of depression, however, increased from 43.3% (52/120) to 46.6% (41/88). No factor was associated with follow-up PTSD symptomatology, and only the level of education was related to follow-up depression. Generally, the risk factors of age, sex, symptomatology of PTSD and depression at baseline, and stressor of unemployment predicted new-onset or chronic PTSD symptomatology and depression. Delayed-onset depression 48.0% (24/50) was more common than delayed-onset PTSD symptomatology 11.3% (7/62). Chronic and delayed-onset PTSD symptomatology were more easily developed with depression.

Conclusion:

Although PTSD and depression were separate consequences of trauma, they emerged and affected mental health together. We documented the courses of PTSD and depression among elderly aboriginal people, and the possible effects of demographic, symptomatology, and adverse life stressors were discussed.

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