BioScience Trends. 2010;4(3):96-102.

One-year follow-up study of post-traumatic stress disorder among adolescents following the Wen-Chuan earthquake in China.

Liu ZY, Yang YF, Ye YL, Zeng ZQ, Xiang YJ, Yuan P


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most common psychological disorder among victims of natural disasters. PTSD prevalence and risk factors among adolescents remain unidentified among victims of the Wen-Chuan earthquake. This study screened survivors to determine the prevalence of PTSD and examined risk factors for PTSD among adolescents at three Wen-Chuan secondary schools. PTSD screening was done using the PTSD Checklist-Civilian version (PCL-C). A generalized estimating equation approach was used to control for repeated measurements in the same individuals and to predict risk factors for PTSD. The study included 1,474 students in grades 7, 8, 10 and 11 from three Wen-Chuan secondary schools at 4, 6, 9, and 12 months after the earthquake. The average age of students was 15.0 (13.0, 16.0) both at the first and the second time point, and 16.0 (14.0, 17.0) at the third and the fourth time point. The screened prevalence of PTSD was 11.2%, 8.8%, 6.8% and 5.7% at 4, 6, 9, and 12 months after the earthquake, respectively. Risk factors for PTSD were: time duration, school location (the proximity of epicenter), grade, nationality, parent injury, and severe property damage. In conclusion, PTSD risk factors are in accordance with previous studies; however, the role of nationality and time duration in post-traumatic stress disorder merits further research.

KEYWORDS: Post-traumatic stress disorder, earthquake, adolescents, risk factor, generalized estimating equations

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