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Journal Article

Citation

Arnberg FK, Melin L. PLoS One 2013; 8(6): e65709.

Affiliation

National Centre for Disaster Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2013, Public Library of Science)

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0065709

PMID

23776531

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Lack of social support is a strong predictor for poor mental health after disasters. Psychosocial post-disaster interventions may benefit from targeting survivors at risk of low support, yet it is unknown whether demographic and disaster exposure characteristics are associated with social support. This study assessed if age, gender, educational status, cohabitation, and disaster exposure severity predicted aspects of informal social support in a cohort of Swedish survivors from the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami. METHODS: The participants were 3,536 disaster survivors who responded to a mail survey 14 months after the disaster (49% response rate). Their perceptions of present emotional support, contact with others, tangible support, negative support and overall satisfaction with informal support were assessed with the Crisis Support Scale and analysed in five separate ordinal regressions. RESULTS: Demographic factors and exposure severity explained variation in social supports although the effect size and predictive efficiency were modest. Cohabitation and female gender were associated with both more positive and more negative support. Single-household men were at risk for low emotional support and younger women were more likely to perceive negative support. Higher education was associated with more positive support, whereas no clear pattern was found regarding age as a predictor. Disaster exposure severity was associated with more negative support and less overall support satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: After a disaster that entailed little disruptions to the community the associations between demographic characteristics and social support concur with findings in the general population. The findings suggest that psychosocial disaster interventions may benefit from targeting specific groups of survivors.


Language: en

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