The paper entitled “Loss and psychosocial factors as determinants of quality of life in a cohort of earthquake survivors” is the recent one in the series of papers based on the Post-earthquake Psychopathological Investigation (PEPSI) study, which followed a cohort of the 1988 Spitak earthquake survivors for over two decades. The research group, Drs. Vahe Khachadourian (AUA MPH 2011), Haroutune Armenian (AUA President Emeritus and Professor of Epidemiology), Anahit Demirchyan (AUA MPH 1999), and Armen Goenjian (UCLA School of Medicine) published this article in the Health and Quality of Life Outcomes – a specialized international peer-reviewed journal .
The article focuses on determinants of Quality of life among Spitak earthquake survivors, 23 years after the event. This study is among a few which have prospectively followed earthquake survivors and investigated their quality of life for such a long period of time. The study sample included over 700 earthquake survivors from Gyumri, Spitak, and Vanadzor cities and surrounding villages who were followed through four phases of this study conducted from 1990 to 2012.
Depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorders were among factors which were found to affect survivors’ quality of life. The study showed that negative effect of earthquake losses on quality of life (QOL) can extend to more than two decades after the earthquake. Nonetheless, those with extreme earthquake losses who had received post-earthquake financial/material support had relatively better quality of life compared to their peers who did not receive such financial/material support. Based on these findings the authors concluded that “earthquake related loss and concurrent psychopathology symptoms can have adverse impact on the QOL of survivors. They also indicate that well-targeted post-disaster financial/material aid and social support should be considered as means for improving the long-term QOL outcomes of disaster survivors. “
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