Disaster survivors in their third decade: trajectories of initial stress responses and long-term course of mental health

J Trauma Stress. 2011 Jun;24(3):334-41. doi: 10.1002/jts.20636. Epub 2011 May 18.


This study analyzed trajectories of initial stress and long-term mental health after the 1980 North Sea oil rig disaster. A growth-mixture model of the survivors' stress manifestations in the first 8 weeks (Posttraumatic Stress Scale, [PTSS-10]) and general mental health in 1980, 1981, 1985, and 2007 (General Health Questionnaire, [GHQ-20]) was estimated. Survivors' GHQ-scores in 1985 and 2007 were contrasted to those of a comparison group. Four trajectories were identified among survivors. The resilient (n = 43) displayed initially moderate stress that rapidly declined. The recovery (n = 10), chronic (n = 8), and relapse (n = 9) showed initially stable high stress scores, but the long-term mental health differed. Early screening may identify those at long-term risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*