Three months after the devastating Chi-Chi earthquake (magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale) struck the central area of Taiwan, 663 victims were screened for psychiatric morbidity at a local general hospital in a community mental health program. The rate of psychiatric morbidity as defined by the 12-item Chinese Health Questionnaire as greater than 4, was 24.5%. Posttraumatic symptoms were still prevalent. The rate of posttraumatic stress disorder was 11.3%, and the rate of partial PTSD was 32.0%. Variables associated with the presence of psychiatric morbidity and posttraumatic symptoms included female gender, old age, financial loss, obsessive trait, and nervous trait. A disproportionate use of mental health services (18%) was found, suggesting an urgent need to deliver mental health care to disaster victims at local medical settings. In addition, health care professionals who work with the earthquake victims need to be promptly and efficiently trained in mental health crisis intervention.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health