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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163

Abstract

KOHN, Robert. Demoralization and the longitudinal course of PTSD following Hurricane Mitch. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2013, vol.27, n.1, pp.18-26. ISSN 0213-6163.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4321/S0213-61632013000100003.

Background and Objectives: Numerous studies of disasters have used measures of non-specific distress as outcome measures. The utility of these measures as predictive of the long-term outcome of disasters has remained unclear, in particular the relationship with PTSD. This study examines whether demoralization is predictive and a useful concept to examine the long-term outcome of disaster related PTSD. Methods: The 1998 Hurricane Mitch that impacted Honduras was examined two-months (n = 800) and two-years following the disaster in a longitudinal community-based sample of 604 adults. Respondents were selected from a stratified sample in Tegucigalpa based on exposure and social economic status. PTSD diagnosed using the CIDI module at both periods of time. Demoralization was measured using the PERI-D at 2-months post-disaster. Results: The PERI-D, increased demoralization, was significantly associated with PTSD at two-month and two-years. In addition, increased demoralization was associated with increased risk of PTSD chronicity. Decreased demoralization was associated with PTSD remission. New onset PTSD was associated increased demoralization; however, the finding was not appreciated after controlling for potential confounders. Conclusions: Demoralization can be measured using a simple screening questionnaire that may be a useful in identifying individuals who may be at increased risk for PTSD in the short-term, as well as in the long-term following a disaster.

Keywords : Demoralization; Disaster; Hurricane; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; Honduras; Longitudinal.

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