Long-term physical and psychological effects of the Vajont disaster

Article English OPEN
Zaetta, Cristina ; Santonastaso, Paolo ; Favaro, Angela (2011)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: European Journal of Psychotraumatology, volume 2 (issn: 2000-8198, eissn: 2000-8066)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v2i0.8454, pmc: PMC3402158
  • Subject: Clinical Research Article | PTSD | physical health | PTSD; physical health; disaster; major depression | major depression | disaster

Background: Few studies to date investigated the long-term consequences of disasters on physical health. Objective: The aim of the present report was to study the consequence on physical health of exposure to the Vajont disaster after 40 years. We also explored the effects of severity of trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and major depression disorder on physical health and health-related quality of life. Method: Sixty survivors of the Vajont disaster and 48 control subjects of similar gender, education, and age participated in the study. Physician-reported and subjective measures of physical health have been employed. Results: Survivors reported a greater number of physical complaints than controls (pB0.001), and some type of diseases showed a significant relationship with PTSD or PTSD symptoms. Quality of life differed between the two groups as regards the perception of physical health. The number of intrusive PTSD symptoms showed a significant negative effect on the quality of life of survivors. Conclusions: Our study shows that large-scale disasters such as the Vajont one may have deleterious effects on both psychological and physical health.Keywords: PTSD; physical health; disaster; major depression(Published: 17 October 2011)Citation: European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2011, 2: 8454 - DOI: 10.3402/ejpt.v2i0.8454 For the abstract or full text in other languages, please see Supplementary files in the column to the right (under Reading Tools).
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