Earthquake-related psychological distress and associated factors 4 years after the Parnitha earthquake in Greece

Eur Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;20(2):137-44. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2004.06.025.


Exposure to earthquakes has been associated with psychological distress and in particular the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Earthquake-related psychological distress can be longstanding. The present study involved 157 Greek survivors of the 1999 Parnitha earthquake assessed approximately 4 years after the earthquake. Assessments were based on the Traumatic Stress Symptom Checklist (TSSC). Using stringent calibrations for the estimation of symptom presence 25% of the survivors endorsed at least 5 and 12% at least 10 TSSC symptoms. Approximately 22% of the survivors reported subjective distress and 15% impaired adjustment due to their symptoms. Intensity of fear during the earthquake and participation in rescue operations related to greater post-earthquake psychological distress. The results suggest that the psychological consequences of earthquakes can be serious and long-standing even when the magnitude of the earthquake is moderate. Psychological treatments that have been proven to reduce fear and PTSD symptoms need to be made available to the survivors. Such treatments may also increase the survivors' psychological preparedness and emotional resilience in view of future earthquakes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjustment Disorders / etiology
  • Adult
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Disasters*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Adjustment
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors