The study investigated the impact of psychiatric disorders on Quality of Life (QOL) cross-sectionally and longitudinally in a group of Norwegian tourists severely exposed to the 2004 tsunami.
Sixty-two adult Norwegian tsunami survivors were interviewed face to face 2 years post-tsunami (T1) and 58 were interviewed again by telephone 6 years post-tsunami (T2). The majority (81 %) reported direct exposure to the waves, and 14 participants (23 %) lost a close family member in the tsunami. Psychiatric morbidity was measured by structured clinical interviews and QOL was assessed with WHO’s Quality of Life-Bref scale. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to assess the independent effects of psychiatric disorders on QOL 2 and 6 years after the tsunami.
Psychiatric disorders, especially depression, but also PTSD and other anxiety disorders, were associated with reduced QOL. Psychiatric disorders were more strongly related to QOL at 6 years after the tsunami than at 2 years.
Psychiatric disorders, and especially depression, is related to reduced QOL in a disaster exposed population. Post-disaster psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD and especially depression, should be addressed properly in the aftermath of disasters.
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