Revista de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0124-0064
LEIVA-BIANCHI, Marcelo. The relevance and prevalence of post-traumatic stress after an earthquake: public health problem in Constitucion, Chile. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2011, vol.13, n.4, pp.551-559. ISSN 0124-0064. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0124-00642011000400001.
Objectives An increase in the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is expected following the February 27th 2010 (F-27) earthquake and tsunami, according to previous research; the current research was aimed at showing the importance of this problem by identifying PTSD prevalence in Constitucion, one of the Chilean cities most affected by F-27. Methods The number of severe PTSD symptoms was measured in two samples taken from staff from a local school and a primary care network, using the short post-traumatic stress disorder rating interview (SPRINT-E) scale. Results PTSD prevalence was higher than expected in both groups: 36 % in the local school staff (where 23 % was expected) and 20 % for primary care network staff (15 % was expected). Conclusions The article deals with PTSD prevalence, reflecting on the serious public mental health problem affecting this city in particular and all affected areas in general. It also discusses the feasibility of solving this public health problem by using available health network resources. While its resolution is complex, initiatives in applied research can always be supported, such as those currently being conducted by the University of Talca's psychology faculty.
Keywords : Stress disorder; post-traumatic; prevalence; mental health; public health; earthquake; tsunami.