Earthquakes in El Salvador: A Descriptive Study of Health Concerns in a Rural Community and the Clinical Implications, Part III Mental Health and Psychosocial Effects

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Audrey Snyder, Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Innovation (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Background: In 2001, the mountain town of San Sebastian, El Salvador experienced a series of earthquakes that affected the livelihood of its people. Methods: A convenience sample of 100 households of 594 inhabitants of San Sebastian and the surrounding rural farming areas was completed. One study participant for each household was evaluated for mental health and psychosocial changes after the earthquakes. The participant's questionnaire was used to investigate the relationship between physical health, access to health care, housing, food and water, and the occurrence of negative mental health markers six months after the disasters. Results: Findings indicate that the majority (67%) of respondents experienced 6 or more mental health complaints. Risk factors associated with multiple negative mental health symptoms included change in household income and loss of job, a new illness or a new injury in the household, reliance on healthcare services since the earthquake, and managing a chronic illness. Conclusion: Findings indicate a need for rapid, acute mental health screening with at-risk groups and the need to educate the entire community regarding what medical and mental health treatments are available to reduce barriers to treatment and increase public awareness.

Additional Information

Disaster Management and Response, 2 (2), 40-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.dmr.2004.03.006
Language: English
Date: 2004
El Salvador, mental health, psychosocial impact of earthquakes

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