Objective: To examine trajectories of psychological functioning using latent class analysis on a sample of hospitalized survivors of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in Hong Kong.
Design: A longitudinal study of 997 survivors, recruited from among 1,331 individuals hospitalized for SARS, were interviewed at 6, 12, and 18 months after hospitalization.
Main outcome measures: Psychological and physical functioning at each time point was measured using the 12-item Medical Outcome Study Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12).
Results: Four latent classes were identified--chronic dysfunction, delayed dysfunction, recovery, and resilience. All groups had better physical health than the chronic group. Resilient and recovered individuals had greater social support and less SARS-related worry, and resilient individuals were more likely to be male. The resilient group also had greater social support than the delayed group and better physical functioning than the recovered group.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that longitudinal outcome trajectories following a major health-threat event in an Asian sample bear close resemblance to prototypical trajectories observed in trauma studies using Western samples. Unique predictors of the trajectories included factors observed in previous studies, such as social support, as well as factors of particular relevance to a major disease outbreak, such as SARS-related worry.
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