To investigate the prevalence and related risk factors for probable disaster-related psychiatric disorders, such as major depressive episodes (MDEs) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among the victims of a petrochemical gas explosion in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 6 months after the event. Additionally, the quality of life (QOL) of victims with related risk factors was simultaneously investigated.
A community-based screening survey with cross-sectional assessments was conducted. The victims of a petrochemical gas explosion were surveyed 6 months after the event. We used two scales, the Disaster-Related Psychological Screening Test and Short Form 12v2, to survey a representative sample of 502 participants (average age: 42.90 ± 16.61 years; M: 270, average age: 40.89 ± 16.40 years; F: 232; average age: 45.25 ± 16.58 years). The Chinese version of SPSS 17.0 software was used to perform the analysis.
Non-PTSD or non-MDE (non-P or M), probable PTSD, probable MDE and probable PTSD, and MDE were present in 341 (67.9%), 54 (10.8%), 37 (7.4%) and 70 (13.9%) participants, respectively. QOL worsened (negative trend) among the groups in the following order: non-P or M, probable PTSD or MDE alone, and probable PTSD and MDE. The risk factors for probable PTSD or MDE were female gender, older age, physical injury, significant financial loss, and lack of religious belief. The risk factors for poorer QOL subscales were older age, financial problems, physical injury, higher educational level, religious beliefs, and probable PTSD and/or MDE.
This study shows that probable PTSD/MDE is associated with lower QOL, supporting the need for early mental health rehabilitation after a disaster. Therefore, rapid screening and early mental rehabilitation are very important.