Biopsychosocial impacts on the elderly from a tsunami-affected community in southern Thailand

J Med Assoc Thai. 2007 Aug;90(8):1501-5.


Objective: To evaluate the physical illnesses, symptoms of depression, and social status among the elderly in Ban Num Khem Community, Phang Nga Province, Thailand six months after a tsunami, and to evaluate the medical and psychosocial interventions received to identify further needs.

Material and method: The demographic characteristics, tsunami-specific traumatic events, physical examinations, Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, socio-economic status, and interventions of 87 elderly were conducted on July 23, 2005.

Results: Female was 64.4%. Married was 54.0%. Age range was 60-93 years old. There were underweight (11.5%), pre-hypertension (33.3%), hypertension (43.7%), and depression (24.1%). The risks of depression were female, age 65 and over, living alone, loss of income, loss of family members, and hypertension. The majority of them experienced complex physical, psychological, and social problems. Medical and social interventions were still needed. The satisfaction from interventions was found in 79.3%, ranging from the most (11.5%), moderate (48.3%), and mild satisfaction (19.5%).

Conclusion: Six months after the tsunami, the elderly still have complex physical, psychological problems, and socio-economic deprivation. To improve their quality of life, these elderly people required appropriate physical and mental health care including social support.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thailand