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A longitudinal study of the psychological morbidity in children due to a natural disaster

  • Alexander C. McFarlane (a1), Sandra K. Policansky (a1) and Claire Irwin (a1)


This longitudinal study examined the psychological impact of a bushfire disaster on a group of 808 children aged from 5 to 12. Contrary to prediction, the prevalence of behaviour and emotional problems 2 months after the fire was less than the prevalence in a carefully selected comparison group. Rather than decrease with time, the prevalence of psychological morbidity increased significantly, being as great 26 months after the disaster as at 8 months.


Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr A. C. McFarlane, Department of Psychiatry, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, South Australia 3042, Australia


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