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A Follow up Study on the Elderly Survivors - Mental Health Two Years after the Wenchuan Earthquake

Authors: Ting Wang, Huiqin Yang, Buxin Han


Background: This investigated the mental health of the elderly survivors six months, ten months and two years after the “5.12 Wenchuan" earthquake. Methods: Two hundred and thirty-two physically healthy older survivors from earthquake-affected Mianyang County were interviewed. The measures included the Revised Impact of Event Scale (IES-R, Chinese version, for PTSD) and a Chinese Mental Health Inventory for the Elderly (MHIE). A repeated measures ANOVA test was used for statistical analysis. Results: The follow-up group had a statistically significant lower IES-R score and lower MHIE score than the initial group ten months after the earthquake. Two years later, the score of IES-R in follow-up group were still lower than that of non-follow-up group, but no differences were significant on the score of MHIE between groups. Furthermore, a negative relationship was found between scores of IES-R and MHIE. Conclusion: The earthquake has had a persistent negative impact on older survivors- mental health within the two-year period and that although the PTSD level declined significantly with time, it did not disappear completely.

Keywords: Mental Health, follow-up, Elderly survivors, post-Wenchuan earthquake

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