Psychological sequelae: Post-traumatic stress reactions and personality factors among community residents as secondary victims

M Chung, Y Easthope, S Farmer, Julie Werrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aims of the present study were twofold: first, to ascertain the severity of post-traumatic stress among community residents as secondary victims exposed to a train disaster. Secondly, we aimed to identify the association between post-traumatic stress and personality variables. Seven months after the train disaster in Stafford, United Kingdom, in 1996, 66 community residents were recruited and interviewed for the study. In the interviews, residents were assessed using the Impact of Event Scale (IES), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-R Short Scale (EPQ-R). Control group data were also collected, composed of 90 community residents who lived in another city and had not been exposed to the train disaster. They were assessed using the GHQ. The results showed that 51% of the residents scored at the high IES symptom level. No significant differences were found between the community residents who lived near and further away from the crash site in terms of the IES scores. Further analyses showed that the IES scores for the present two groups of community residents were significantly lower than those of Horowitz's standardized stress clinic samples, but higher than those of Danish rescue workers involved in a train rescue operation. The GHQ results showed that 35% could be considered to be psychiatric cases. The comparisons between the GHQ scores of the present community residents with those of the control group showed that there were significant differences in somatic problems, anxiety, depression and GHQ total. With regard to personality, the community residents who lived near to the crash site were significantly more introverted but less neurotic than Eysenck's standardized samples. The community residents who lived further away were significantly more introverted but less neurotic than the standardized samples. Regression analyses revealed that neuroticism predicted intrusion, avoidance and GHQ total. The conclusion was that there can be long-term, severe post-traumatic stress effects upon community residents, as secondary victims, after exposure to a train disaster. Residents with a neurotic personality tend to be associated with post-traumatic stress reactions and general health problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-270
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2003

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Psychological sequelae: Post-traumatic stress reactions and personality factors among community residents as secondary victims'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this