Moderate Depression Promotes Posttraumatic Growth (Ptg): A Young Population Survey 2 Years after the 2009 L’Aquila Earthquake
V. Bianchini1, *, L. Giusti2, 3, A Salza 2, 3, V. Cofini2, M. G. Cifone2, M. Casacchia2, L. Fabiani2, R. Roncone2, 3
1 Department of Mental Health, Asl Roma 5, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
2 Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
3 University Rehabilitative Treatment, Early Intervention Unit, TRIP, San Salvatore Hospital, L’Aquila, Italy
Earthquakes can result in a range of psychopathology and in negative and positive consequences for survivors.
To examine the association between clinical aftereffects (anxiety and depressive symptoms) and post-traumatic growth (PTG) among young survivors of the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake, Italy.
316 young earthquake survivors enrolled in the University of L’Aquila were evaluated two years after the natural disaster. Participants completed three main questionnaires, including Patient Health Questionnaire-9 items (PHQ-9), Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI).
59.6% of the student sample showed different levels of depression, whereas 13.3% reported anxiety symptoms. In both clinical dimensions (anxiety and depression), gender differences were found: female gender was confirmed risk factor for a clinical post-traumatic response. Personal PTG, demonstrated by 18% of the L’Aquila youths included in our sample, was predicted by moderate levels of depression (O.R. 2.7). In our model, gender, age, and anxiety did not show any predictive value.
In a post-traumatic setting, the development of individual cognitive strategies is crucial, whereas after a natural disaster, paradoxically, a moderate depressive condition and the related distress could promote the drive to overcome the psychological consequences of the traumatic event.
Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, Disaster, Earthquake, PTSD, Post Traumatic Growth.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Mental Health, Asl Roma 5, Rome, Italy., Contrada Colle Cisterna, REMS “Castore” – Subiaco (RM), Italy; Tel: +39 0774.8115224; Mobile: +39 340.3097094; E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com