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Tsunami in Kerala, India: Long-Term Psychological Distress, Sense of Coherence, Social Support, and Coping in a Non-Industrialized Setting

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Sophia von Lieres

This study assesses the long-term psychological consequences after the 2004 Asian tsunami in Kerala, India. Participants are the inhabitants of Kerala’s coastal regions. The results indicated that the participants who were affected by the tsunami showed significantly greater psychological distress and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than a control group. In addition, it could be shown that protective factors, such as perceived social support, certain coping strategies, and a sense of coherence, could decrease the level of symptoms. Perceived social support, in particular, decreased symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and a strong sense of coherence mitigated psychological distress. Avoidance coping was found to be more effective in decreasing levels of traumatic stress in this non-industrialized, collectivistic cultural setting.

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Abbreviations

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ACTH Adrenocorticotropic hormone AIMS Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences BSI Brief Symptom Inventory CCL Coping Checklist CRF Corticotrophin-Releasing Factor DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders ECA Epidemiological Catchment Area EDCF East Coast Development Forum F-SOZU Fragebogen zur Sozialen Unterstützung (Social Support Questionnaire) HARS Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale HPA Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis HSCL-25 Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 IBT Illinois Bell Telephone ICD-10 International Classification of Diseases – 10 IES Impact of Event Scale IES-R Impact of Event Scale – Revised KMO Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Test MAM Mata Amritanandamayi Math MMPI Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory NGO Non-Government-Organization NIMH National Institute of Mental Health PAF Principle Axis Factoring PCA Principle Component Analysis PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder SCARF Schizophrenia Research Foundation SCL-90 Symptom Checklist-90 USGS United States Geological Survey WHO World Health Organization

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