The purpose of this paper is to describe risk and protective factors for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced over a 1.5-year period among both…
The purpose of this paper is to describe risk and protective factors for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced over a 1.5-year period among both frontline and “non-traditional” responders to the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand.
A longitudinal survey administered to Christchurch workers with referents from the city of Hamilton at 6, 12 and 18 months after the 2011 earthquake. Potential risk and protective determinants were assessed by questionnaire items at baseline and over time, the outcome being PTSD as assessed by the PTSD Checklist-Civilian version. A longitudinal latent class analysis identified groups with similar trajectories of PTSD.
A total of 226 individuals, 140 (26 per cent) from Christchurch and 86 (16 per cent) from Hamilton, participated at baseline, 180 at 12 and 123 at 18 months, non-traditional responders forming the largest single group. Two latent classes emerged, with PTSD (21 per cent) and without PTSD (79 per cent), with little change over the 18-month period. Class membership was predicted by high scores in the Social Support and Impact of Events scale items, Health-related Quality of Life scores being protective. PTSD scores indicative of distress were found in females, and predicted by burnout risk, behavioural disengagement and venting.
Non-traditional responders should be screened for PTSD. Social support should be considered with the promotion of adaptive coping mechanisms.
The strength was longitudinal follow-up over an 18-month period, with demonstration of how the potential determinants influenced the course of PTSD over time.