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.