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Trauma and traumatic bereavement have well-known consequences for mental health, but little is known about long-term adjustment, particularly with respect to health-protective factors.
To assess the levels of anxiety/depression and perceived social support among the survivors and the bereaved 26 years after the Scandinavian Star ferry disaster compared with expected levels from the general population.
Anxiety/depression and social support were assessed in face-to-face interviews with the survivors and the bereaved (N = 165, response rate 58%). Expected scores were calculated for each participant based on the means and proportions for each age and gender combination from a general population sample. We computed the ratio between expected and observed scores, standardised mean differences with 95% confidence intervals and standardised effect sizes.
We found an elevated level of anxiety/depression symptoms in the victims (Mdiff = 0.28, 95% CI 0.18, 0.38; effect size 0.43, 95% CI 0.31, 0.55) and a significant excess of individuals with a clinically significant level of symptoms. The observed level of perceived social support was significantly lower than that expected (Mdiff = −0.57, 95% CI −0.70, −0.44; effect size −0.73, 95% CI −0.89, −0.57). This was the case for both survivors and those who were bereaved and for both men and women.
This study reveals that disaster survivors and the bereaved reported elevated levels of anxiety and depression symptoms 26 years after the event. They also reported a markedly reduced level of social support. Traumas and post-traumatic responses may thus cause lasting harm to interpersonal relationships.
Studies suggest that 10–15% of perinatal women experience depressive symptoms. Due to the risks, problems with detection, and barriers to treatment, effective universal preventive interventions are needed. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of an automated internet intervention (‘Mamma Mia’) on perinatal depressive symptoms. Mamma Mia is tailored specifically to the perinatal phase and targets risk and protective factors for perinatal depressive symptoms.
A total of 1342 pregnant women were randomized to an intervention (‘Mamma Mia’) and control group. Data were collected at gestational week (gw) 21–25, gw37, 6 weeks after birth, and 3 and 6 months after birth. We investigated whether (1) the intervention group displayed lower levels of depressive symptoms compared with the control group, (2) the effect of Mamma Mia changed over time, (3) the effect on depressive symptoms was moderated by baseline depressive symptoms, previous depression, and parity, and (4) this moderation changed by time. Finally, we examined if the prevalence of mothers with possible depression [i.e. Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)-score ⩾10] differed between the intervention and control group.
Participants in the Mamma Mia group displayed less depressive symptoms than participants in the control group during follow-up [F(1) = 7.03, p = 0.008]. There were indications that the effect of Mamma Mia was moderated by EPDS score at baseline. The prevalence of women with EPDS-score ⩾10 was lower in the Mamma Mia group at all follow-up measurements.
The study demonstrated the effects of the automated web-based universal intervention Mamma Mia on perinatal depressive symptoms.
Although youths in many countries have been exposed to terrorism, few studies have examined early risk and protective factors for the subsequent development of mental health problems.
To investigate the levels of post-traumatic stress in survivors of the 2011 massacre on Ut⊘ya Island compared with the general population in Norway, and to identify predictive factors.
Four hundred and ninety survivors were invited to participate. Structured face-to-face interviews were performed 4–5 months after the attack.
There were 325 study participants (response rate 66%). Survivors had been highly exposed to danger and loss. Post-traumatic stress levels were more than six times higher in survivors than in the general population. Predictors were female gender, minority ethnic status, high level of trauma exposure, pain, the loss of someone close and social support.
Survivor characteristics that can be assessed in the early aftermath of a terrorist attack strongly predict the subsequent mental health problems of exposed youths. The highly elevated symptoms observed were largely attributable to the traumatic experience and reflect the mental health costs of the terrorist attack.
There is no long-term prospective study (> 20 years) of the mental
health of any refugee group.
To investigate the long-term course and predictors of psychological
distress among Vietnamese refugees in Norway.
Eighty Vietnamese refugees, 57% of the original cohort previously
interviewed in 1982 (T1) and 1985 (T2), completed a self-report questionnaire prior to a
semi-structured interview. Mental health was measured using the Symptom
The SCL–90–R mean Global Severity Index (GSI) decreased significantly
from T1 to T3 (2005–6), but there was no significant change in the
percentage reaching threshold scores (GSI =1.00). Trauma-related mental
disorder on arrival and the trajectory of symptoms over the first 3 years
of resettlement predicted mental health after 23 years.
Although the self-reported psychological distress decreased significantly
over time, a substantial higher proportion of the refugee group still
remained reaching threshold scores after 23 years of resettlement
compared with the Norwegian population. The data suggest that refugees
reaching threshold scores on measures such as the SCL–90–R soon after
arrival warrant comprehensive clinical assessment.
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