Trauma and Psychosocial Aftermath among High- and Low-Exposure Adults Three Months Post the 921 Chi-Chi Earthquake in Taiwan

陳 淑惠, 洪 福建, 林 耀盛, Hsu-Min Tseng

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


This study evaluated the peri- and post-traumatic psychological responses as well as changes of physical and psychological health, outlook on life, and interpersonal relationships three months after the devastating 921 Chi-Chi Earthquake among two groups of middle-aged adults in Taiwan. One hundred and ninety-seven adults from high-impact areas, Taichung and Nantou Cpunties, and 117 adults form Taipei, a low-impact area, were evaluated. Self-report measures included demographic and earthquake exposure information, the Pertraumatic Psychological Reaction Index (PPRI), the Posttraumatic Stress Reaction Index (PTSRI), and the Psychosocial Change Questionnaire (PCQ). The results indicated that:1) high-exposure adults manifested significantly more immediate and persistent posttraumatic psychological responses, and endorsed more negative reports concerning physical/psychological health and intimate/general interpersonal relationships; and 2) while previous trauma studies often reported more negative and pathology-toned behavioral manifestations, this study found both positive and after the disaster. Regarding outlooks on life, there were relatively equal proportions of high-exposure adults becoming more optimistic, staying unchanged, and becoming more pessimistic. Similar trisection patterns were noted in their interpersonal relationships, i.e., getting closer, staying unchanged, and getting more distant/detached. This study demonstrates the utility of the instruments in evaluating individuals affected by natural disasters and feasibility of developing psychometrically sound measures for future study on traumatic responses and treatment. The results also suggest the importance of implementing post-disaster psychosocial rehabilitation programs aimed at transformation of traumatic experiences into a more adaptive direction.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)167-188
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Earthquake exposure
  • Peritraumatic psychological responses
  • Posttraumatic psychological responses
  • Psychosocial aftermath


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