Prevalence and factors associated with post-traumatic stress disorder among flood-affected adults in a panchayat in Ernakulam district in Kerala
Keywords:flood, Kerala, post-traumatic stress disorder
Floods affected the state of Kerala following unusually heavy rainfall during the monsoon season in August 2018. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the most common and debilitating psychological disorder among victims of floods or any other massive disaster. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and the factors associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among flood-affected adults in a panchayat in Kerala. In light of the looming threat of climate change, and with Kerala being especially prone to recurring floods due to its geographical location, there is an urgent need to assess the impact of floods on the psychological wellbeing of the residents of the state. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the occurrence of PTSD among the residents of Kerala following exposure to floods. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study undertaken in 100 households in a flood-affected community in Kerala. The PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) was administered to diagnose PTSD. The intensity of flood exposure was measured using a checklist of ten factors.
Results: The prevalence of PTSD was 22%. Loss of a relative, physical injury, and affliction with a physical illness were significantly associated with PTSD. A higher intensity of flood exposure was associated with a greater prevalence of PTSD. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates the high prevalence of PTSD following floods in Kerala and the need to conduct post-disaster mental health screening. It highlights those factors that may predict the occurrence of PTSD in the affected population. Recommendations are also put forward to mitigate the psychological impact of floods on the inhabitants of the state in the coming years.
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