Ageing and psychological response during the post-SARS period

Aging Ment Health. 2006 May;10(3):303-11. doi: 10.1080/13607860600638545.


We studied the psychological impact of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to understand if age and residential location were risk factors associated with post-traumatic disturbance, namely intrusion, avoidance, and hyperarousal. One hundred and forty-six volunteers belonging to four groups classified along the dimensions of age (middle-aged versus older-aged) and location (high SARS-prevalent regions versus low SARS-prevalent regions), participated in this study. After controlling for depression, residents in high SARS-prevalent regions, regardless of age, consistently developed more intense post-traumatic disturbance than residents in low SARS-prevalent regions. Furthermore, the prevalence of probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases was significantly higher in older people and in residents of SARS-prevalent regions. Our findings suggest the importance of mental health aftercare in the post-epidemic period of disease epidemics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*