PTSD & natural disasters

Interpreting the result, the authors point out that while some children and adolescents who experience PTSD or depression after natural disasters recover within a couple years, some do not. According to the researchers, “some exhibit chronic, delayed-onset PTSD and depression, especially those with poor relationships with their parents or those living in precarious economic conditions.”

The idea that those with poor parent-child relationships are more vulnerable to mental health disorders in the years following earthquakes fits with previous research that has found a link between social support and resilience after natural disasters. For example, one study found that social support as well as personality and spiritual beliefs affected how people recovered from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Another found that social support predicted quality of life.

These studies are a good reminder that some of the many kinds of destruction natural disasters bring with them have to do with mental health. Mental health issues like PTSD and depression make it harder for survivors to move on from what they experienced, and mental health care is an important part of rebuilding after natural disasters.

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