We studied the psychological impact of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to understand if age and residential location were risk factors associated with post-traumatic disturbance, namely intrusion, avoidance, and hyperarousal. One hundred and forty-six volunteers belonging to four groups classified along the dimensions of age (middle-aged versus older-aged) and location (high SARS-prevalent regions versus low SARS-prevalent regions), participated in this study. After controlling for depression, residents in high SARS-prevalent regions, regardless of age, consistently developed more intense post-traumatic disturbance than residents in low SARS-prevalent regions. Furthermore, the prevalence of probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases was significantly higher in older people and in residents of SARS-prevalent regions. Our findings suggest the importance of mental health aftercare in the post-epidemic period of disease epidemics. Copyright © 2006 Taylor & Francis.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders