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12 - Women and Disasters

from Part Four - Special Groups

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 May 2010

Yuval Neria
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
Sandro Galea
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Fran H. Norris
Affiliation:
Dartmouth Medical School, New Hampshire
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Summary

This chapter reviews the study samples to highlight potential vulnerability factors that could interact with gender to produce more severe postdisaster mental health outcomes among women. The most informative comparisons of men's and women's experiences of disaster can be drawn from studies of representative samples, which identify participants using methodologies such as random-digit-dial telephone surveys. Disaster exposure, subjective distress, and vulnerability factors increase the risk for depression. Despite few gender differences in reports of objective exposure, exposure had a more pronounced effect on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms for women than for men. Female gender has also been associated with PTSD risk among survivors of the Taiwan Chi-Chi earthquake. The majority of studies in developing nations find women to have higher rates of postdisaster psychopathology or identify female gender as a significant risk factor. The severity of PTSD symptoms was significantly greater among women than men.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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