The aim of this study was to screen those at high risk of psychological distress in areas affected by typhoon Morakot, which hit Taiwan on August 7th, 2009. Screening was conducted a year later to assess the changes in psychiatric symptoms and investigate the factors which may be predictive of psychological distress and suicide ideation. One-hundred and fifty-two participants were collected at the first screening and 125 a year later. The five-item Brief Symptom Rating Scale was used to measure the level of psychological distress. Our results showed the prevalence of psychological distress immediately post-disaster was 2.4% and increased to 4.0% the next year. The level of anxiety post-disaster could predict continuous psychological distress and the development of suicidal ideation a year later. Traumatic events prior to the typhoon were not associated with the level of psychological distress a year after the disaster. Difference was found in the level of hostility immediately post-disaster and a year later. Our follow-up study found anxiety was the only indicator which predicted psychological distress a year later, and hostility was a transient state which was lower a year after the disaster. Policy-makers and future programs should focus on high anxiety cases post-disaster to prevent mental symptom and suicide ideation development.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 16, 2012
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