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Children exposed to a natural disaster: psychological consequences eight years after 2004 tsunami

Children exposed to a natural disaster: psychological consequences eight years after 2004 tsunami

Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 72(1): 75-81

There is a need for studies that follow up children and adolescents for many years post disaster since earlier studies have shown that exposure during natural disasters constitutes a risk factor for poor psychological health. The main aim was to examine whether there was an association between severity of exposures during a natural disaster experienced in childhood or adolescence and posttraumatic stress symptoms, psychological distress, self-rated health, diagnosis of depression, anxiety or worry, thoughts about or attempted suicide, physical symptoms or daily functioning eight years later in young adulthood. A second aim was to compare psychological distress and self-rated health of exposed young adults with a matched population-based sample. Young adults, who experienced the 2004 tsunami as children between 10 and 15 years of age, responded to a questionnaire eight years post disaster. The results were compared to a matched population sample. The results showed that the likelihood for negative psychological outcomes was higher for those who had been exposed to several types of exposures during this natural disaster. The negative psychological impact on children and adolescents can still be present eight years post-disaster and seems to have association with the type of exposure; loss, physical presence and subjective experience. It is important for clinicians, who meet young adults seeking help, to be conscious about the impact as long as eight years post disaster and to be aware of possible clinical implications associated with severity of exposures.

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Accession: 059495703

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PMID: 28990835

DOI: 10.1080/08039488.2017.1382569

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