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Prevalence and determinants of probable posttraumatic stress disorder among university students eight months after the 2023 Kahramanmaras earthquake doublet
1Elazig Mental Health and Diseases Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Elazig, Turkiye
2Malatya Turgut Ozal University Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing, Malatya, Turkiye
Dusunen Adam Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences 2024; 37(2): 102-110 DOI: 10.14744/DAJPNS.2024.00245
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Objective: The devastating Kahramanmaras earthquake doublet struck with a magnitude of Mw 7.8 and Mw 7.7, occurring 9 hours apart on February 6, 2023. Earthquakes can cause significant psychological impacts. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and determinants of probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among university students eight months following the 2023 earthquake doublet in Kahramanmaras, Turkiye.
Method: Convenience sampling was used to recruit participants. The study included 445 university students who completed a detailed questionnaire about the 2023 Turkiye-Syria earthquakes, along with the PTSD checklist for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5, PCL-5). Researchers prepared the questionnaire to evaluate pre-earthquake psychiatric history, behavioral reactions during and after the earthquake, experiences of being trapped under rubble, physical injury status, extent of property damage, and loss of loved ones through face-to-face interviews.
Results: According to the PCL-5 scores, 61.6% of the participants exhibited probable earthquake-related PTSD. Factors associated with a higher prevalence of probable earthquake-related PTSD included being female, having severe house damage, pre-existing psychiatric conditions, and a history of traumatic events. Only 26.5% of the participants were in a safer location outside buildings during the second earthquake.
Conclusion: A total of 274 subjects (61.6%) were diagnosed with probable earthquake-related PTSD eight months after the 2023 Kahramanmaras earthquake. The determinants linked to a probable PTSD diagnosis were severe house damage, pre-existing psychiatric conditions, a history of traumatic events, and being female. These findings enhance our understanding of probable earthquake-related PTSD, its associated risk factors, and underscore the importance of taking preventive measures to mitigate the psychological impacts of earthquakes.