Teenage girls suffer highest rates of PTSD after earthquakes

Teenage survivors of a major earthquake experienced high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with girls and older students being the most severely affected, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Researchers led by the West China School of Nursing and West China Hospital, Sichuan University, surveyed 1,976 young people aged from 12 to 20 years of age three months after the Wenchuan earthquake, focusing on the five most severely damaged secondary schools.

They found that the biggest difference between the genders and age groups was due to increased emotional arousal, where people feel constantly on guard, have problems sleeping, are subject to outbursts of anger or irritability and find it hard to concentrate.

The findings underline the need for young people to receive prompt psychological support after major disasters to avoid them developing long-term mental health problems.

Read more at Journal of Clinical Nursing