Disaster-related bereavement: Acute symptoms and subsequent depression

Carol S. Fullerton*, Robert J. Ursano, Tzu Cheg Kao, Vivek R. Bharitya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the large body of literature on bereavement, gaps remain in our current understanding of disaster-related bereavement. We examined acute (1 wk post-disaster) and subsequent (2 mo) bereavement in 71 members of an Air Force community after the loss of 7 crewmembers and 1 passenger in a plane crash. Relative to a comparison group, the subjects had higher levels of acute intrusive and avoidant symptoms, and higher levels of depressive symptoms at 2 mo. High acute intrusive and avoidant symptoms were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms at 2 mo. Single subjects with significant others had higher intrusive, avoidant, and depressive symptoms at 2 mo than singles without significant others and married subjects. Closer community ties (less transience) predicted higher acute intrusive and avoidant symptoms, and approached significance for depressive symptoms. After controlling for initial symptoms, the best predictors of depression at 2 mo were: low hardiness, being single, and low perceived support from friends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-909
Number of pages8
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Volume70
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Airplane crash
  • Depression
  • Disaster
  • Disaster-related bereavement
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

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