Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms among professionals during humanitarian aid in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010

Melissa Simon Guimaro Andrea Vannini Santesso Caiuby Oscar Fernando Pavão dos Santos Shirley Silva Lacerda Sergio Baxter Andreoli About the authors

The scope of this article is to screen the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among the professionals who provided humanitarian aid for the Haitian population after the 2010 earthquake. It involvess a cross-sectional study. The Impact of Event Scale - Revised (IES-R) was used for screening symptoms of PTSD. The participants included 32 Brazilians (mean age = 37.58 +/-7.01), 22 Americans (mean age =33.67 +/-8.03) and 12 Ecuadorians (mean age = 44.80 +/- 15.88). The professionals did not have PTSD symptoms. The relationship between prior experience variables in disaster situations and the total score of the IES-R (F (2) = 4.34, p = 0.017), as well as prior experience in disaster situations and the intrusion subscale (F (2) = 3.94, p = 0.024) were significant in linear regression models. The number of prior experiences was revealed as a significant predictor for the total score of IES (p < 0.05). The results showed that current experiences can be exacerbated by memories of prior experiences, increasing the likelihood of developing PTSD. Therefore the mental health care of the professionals should foster the early identification of prior experience risk factors, thereby not permitting voluntary initiative to transcend selective criteria and specific care.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Professionals; Earthquakes; Natural Disasters

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