Mental health and quality of life survey among child survivors of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake

Qual Life Res. 2010 Nov;19(9):1381-91. doi: 10.1007/s11136-010-9703-8. Epub 2010 Jul 11.


Purpose: To characterize child survivors' mental health and quality of life after a massive earthquake.

Methods: A population-based survey of 596 children aged between 8 and 16 years was conducted in the severely affected areas of the earthquake, using a multi-stage systematic sampling design.

Results: The point prevalence rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among the child survivors aged between 8 and 16 years 15 months after the earthquake were 12.4 and 13.9%, respectively. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was found to be strongly and negatively associated with PTSD and depression. Children who had lost family members were most likely to develop PTSD (OR = 6.6; P < 0.001) as well as depression (OR = 4.1; P < 0.001). Children who reported no utilization of mental health services were four times more likely to suffer from PTSD than those who did not (P = 0.002).

Conclusions: More than one in five child survivors were identified as having PTSD or depression; HRQoL of these identified children were deeply compromised. Utilization of mental health services may significantly reduce the risk of developing PTSD symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • China
  • Depression
  • Earthquakes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Health*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
  • Survivors / psychology*