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Original Article
4 (
Supp 1
); S19-S23
doi:
10.4103/0976-3147.116434

Acute stress-related psychological impact in children following devastating natural disaster, the Sikkim earthquake (2011), India

Departments of Pediatric Medicine, Sikkim, India
Departments of Pediatric Medicine, India
Departments of Pharmacology, India
Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Department of Pediatric Medicine, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, Gangtok, Sikkim, India
Departments Physical Medicine, North Bengal Medical College Darjeeling, India
Address for correspondence: Dr. Rakesh Mondal Departments of Pediatric Medicine, North Bengal Medical College Balarampur, Mahestala, Kolkata - 700 141 India ivanrakesh2001@gmail.com
Licence
This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Disclaimer:
This article was originally published by Thieme Medical and Scientific Publishers Private Ltd. and was migrated to Scientific Scholar after the change of Publisher; therefore Scientific Scholar has no control over the quality or content of this article.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Background: Psychological stress following natural disaster is common. Despite several earthquakes in India, data on evaluation of acute stress among the child victims in the early postdisaster period is scarce. Immediately following a devastating earthquake (6.9 Richter) at Sikkim on September, 18 2011, many children attended North Bengal Medical College, the nearest government tertiary care institution, with unusual stress symptoms. Objective: Evaluation of acute stress symptoms in children in the immediate postearthquake period. Materials and Methods: This was a cross‑sectional study done over 4 weeks and includes all the children from 1 to 12 years presenting with unusual physical or behavioral symptoms. Those with major injuries requiring admission were excluded. They were divided into two age groups. For older children (8-12 years) the 8‑item Children Impact of Event Scale (CIES) was used for screening of stress. Unusual symptoms were recorded in younger children (1-8 years) as CIES is not validated < 8 years. Result: A total of 84 children (2.66%) out of 3154 had stress symptoms. Maximum attendance was noted in first 3 days (65.47%) and declined gradually. In children ≥ 8 years, 48.78% had psychological stress, which was statistically significant on CIES scores without any gender predilection. Static posturing (41.86%), sleeplessness (32.55%), anorexia (9.30%), recurrent vomiting (13.95%), excessive crying (13.95%), or night‑awakenings (4.65%) were found in younger children (n = 43) and three required admission. Conclusion: This study represent the first Indian data showing statistically significant psychological impact in older children (8-12 years) and various forms of physical stress symptoms in young children (1-8 years) following earthquake.

Keywords

Acute stress symptoms
disaster
earthquake
physical symptom
psychological impact

Conflict of Interest

None declared

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