Effect of relocation and parental psychopathology on earthquake survivor-children's mental health

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2011 May;199(5):335-41. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182174ffa.


Earthquakes may increase the risk for psychopathology in children because the disaster may disrupt family functioning through causing psychopathology in the parents or disrupting social network through migration, school changes, or socioeconomic status changes caused by the job losses of the parents. This study aimed to investigate the effects of parental psychopathology on the traumatic stress and depression of earthquake survivor-children 4 years after the earthquake. A convenience sample of 104 earthquake survivor-children (43 boys, 61 girls) and their parents were assessed at their homes for earthquake experience and traumatic stress symptoms. The outcome variables were the factor scores of a child/adolescent traumatic stress questionnaire (Traumatic Stress Symptom Checklist for Children and Adolescents). The predictors of child's factor scores were examined using linear regression analyses. The traumatic stress factor score of the children was predicted two variables: the child's reported fear during the earthquake and the father's traumatic stress factor score. The depression factor score, on the other hand, was predicted using the depression factor score of the mother only. Demographic variables or relocation status were not predictive for either of children's factor scores. The results of the present study show that maternal and paternal psychopathologies have differential effects on the psychological status of earthquake survivor-children. Traumatic stress in the child is predicted using the traumatic stress of father, whereas depression in the child is predicted by mother's depression levels. Social network disruption does not seem to have a negative effect on children once parental psychopathology is taken into account.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Checklist
  • Child
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Disasters* / statistics & numerical data
  • Earthquakes* / statistics & numerical data
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Refugees / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Turkey / epidemiology