Bam earthquake in December, 2004 was one of the most devastating disasters in the world. It affected a total population of 970000 and decimated over 35000 people. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of full or partial posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its symptoms in a sample of survivors of Bam earthquake.
This cross-sectional study included 786 people in randomly selected households through cluster sampling eight months after the earthquake. Subjects were assessed by the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
About 98 percent of the respondents were exposed to one or more traumatic life experiences. The most severe traumatic experience in 87.2 percent of the subject was witnessing others injuries or corpses. The lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 59.1 percent. Partial PTSD (having some PTSD symptoms without fulfilling the minimum criteria) and current PTSD had prevalence rates equal to 20.2 and 51.9 percent, respectively. There was not a significant difference between men and women with regard to prevalence of PTSD and its symptoms. “Numbness and avoidance” was the least prevalent and “reexperience” the most prevalent symptom groups.
PTSD is highly prevalent in Bam earthquake survivors that warrant implementing community-based interventions for the disturbed population.