Posttraumatic stress disorder of Red Cross nurses in the aftermath of the 2008 Wenchuan China Earthquake

Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2012 Feb;26(1):63-70. doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 May 11.


This study investigated the symptoms, psychological distress characteristics, and related factors in China Red Cross disaster relief nurses following the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake in China that began on May 12 and lasted to June 23, 2008. A sample of 210 exposed nurses and a reference group of 236 nonexposed Red Cross nurses were surveyed within 1 year after the catastrophic earthquake. They were given a self-report questionnaire to assess demographics, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression symptoms. Exposed nurses reported higher psychological distress on all aspects than nonexposed nurses. Scores on the Traumatic Stress Symptom Checklist were predicted by the avoidance of traumatic thoughts during the earthquake, personality traits, prior disaster experience, and preexisting stress, and other background factors were associated with scores on measures of psychological distress in exposed nurses. The conclusion indicated that disaster relief nurses experienced psychological distress and that immediate psychological intervention should be initiated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Disasters*
  • Earthquakes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Red Cross
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires