Positive and negative postdisaster psychological adjustment among adult survivors of the Southeast Asian earthquake-tsunami

J Psychosom Res. 2006 Nov;61(5):699-705. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2006.07.014.


Objective: This study explored psychosocial factors associated with psychological adjustment among survivors of a severe natural disaster.

Methods: Two hundred sixty-seven adult Thai survivors of the 2004 Southeast Asian earthquake-tsunami were surveyed.

Results: At 6 months following the disaster, percentages of survivors who reported positive and negative adjustment were 34% and 40%, respectively. For positive adjustment, best predictors were predisaster employment, increased arousal, and frequent support seeking. Support seeking also partially mediated the association between arousal and positive adjustment. For negative adjustment, infrequent support seeking and increased intrusion and arousal were the best predictors. Arousal was a partial mediator between intrusion and negative adjustment, and support seeking also partially mediated the influence of intrusion and arousal on negative adjustment.

Conclusion: Mental health programs for survivors of natural disasters should focus on promoting active coping strategies such as support seeking, strengthening of support networks, and management of posttraumatic stress symptoms to facilitate adjustment.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arousal
  • Bereavement
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Support
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Thailand
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology