Psychosocial care for women survivors of the tsunami disaster in India

Am J Public Health. 2009 Apr;99(4):654-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.146571. Epub 2009 Jan 15.


Objectives: I investigated the effectiveness of Psychosocial Care, a community-based mental health initiative for survivors of the 2004 tsunami disaster in India.

Methods: Mental health teams from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in India implemented a train-the-trainer model of psychosocial care in one of the worst tsunami-affected areas of south India. Three months of psychosocial care was provided for an intervention group of women, but not for a control group recruited from an exposed neighboring village. Impact of Event Scale (IES) scores--both total scores and scores for subscales on hypervigilance, avoidance, and intrusion--were compiled for both the intervention and control groups and used as outcome measures.

Results: For the intervention group, posttest total IES and subscale scores were significantly lower than pretest scores (P < .001), indicating improvement in symptoms. Posttest total IES and subscale scores were significantly lower for the intervention group than for the control group (P < .001).

Conclusions: Psychosocial care is an effective mental health strategy for women survivors of disasters and should be an integral component of disaster response in resource-poor countries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Mental Health Services / methods*
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Assessment
  • Social Support*
  • Social Work, Psychiatric / education
  • Social Work, Psychiatric / methods
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Tidal Waves*
  • Young Adult