One year later: Mental health problems among survivors in hard-hit areas of the Wenchuan earthquake

Public Health. 2011 May;125(5):293-300. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2010.12.008. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression, and to identify risk factors related to these mental disorders among hard-hit survivors 1 year after the earthquake in Wenchuan, China.

Study design: : Cross-sectional survey.

Methods: A door-to-door survey covering the entire temporary community was undertaken to investigate 1195 adult earthquake survivors. The survey instruments included a questionnaire determining exposure to the earthquake, the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C), the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-25 (HSCL-25), and the Perceived Social Support Scale (PSSS). Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were undertaken to examine potential risk factors.

Results: The prevalence rates of probable PTSD, anxiety and depression were 26.3%, 49.8% and 49.6%, respectively. Risk factors varied between the disorders. Among middle-aged and elderly people, bodily injury, loss of livelihood and initial fear during the earthquake were independently and significantly associated with all three mental disorders, while female gender was independently and significantly associated with PTSD and depression.

Conclusions: PTSD, anxiety and depression remained at an elevated level among survivors in hard-hit regions 1 year after the earthquake in Wenchuan. The groups at high risk of mental problems should be specifically attended.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Earthquakes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult