Summer of sorrow: measuring exposure to and impacts of trauma after Queensland's natural disasters of 2010-2011

Clemens, Susan L., Berry, Helen L., McDermott, Brett M., and Harper, Catherine M. (2013) Summer of sorrow: measuring exposure to and impacts of trauma after Queensland's natural disasters of 2010-2011. Medical Journal of Australia, 199 (8). pp. 552-555.

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Abstract

Objectives: To assess the population prevalence of property, income and emotional impacts of the 2010–2011 Queensland floods and cyclones.

Design, setting and participants: Cross-sectional telephone-based survey using a brief trauma exposure and impact screening instrument, conducted between 11 March and 6 June 2011, of 6104 adults who answered natural disaster and mental health questions.

Main outcome measures: Natural disaster property damage exposure and emotional wellbeing impacts.

Results: Two-thirds of respondents (62%) reported being affected by the disasters, with property damage exposure ranging from 37.2% (suburb or local area) to 9.2% (own home, with 2.1% living elsewhere at least temporarily). Income was reduced for 17.0% of respondents and 11.7% of income-producing property owners reported damage to those properties. Trauma impacts ranged from 14.3% of respondents feeling "terrified, helpless or hopeless" to 3.9% thinking they might be "badly injured or die". Up to 5 months after the disasters, 7.1% of respondents were "still distressed" and 8.6% were "worried about how they would manage". Adults of working age and residents of regional and remote areas and of socioeconomically disadvantaged areas were disproportionately likely to report exposure to damage and emotional impacts.

Conclusions: Weather-related disasters exact a large toll on the population through property damage and resultant emotional effects. Vulnerable subpopulations are more severely affected. There is a need for realistic, cost-effective and rapid-deployment mass interventions in the event of weather disasters.

Item ID: 44537
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1326-5377
Funders: Regional and Rural Research and Development Grants Program (RRRDGP)
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 05:26
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920111 Nervous System and Disorders @ 50%
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