Psychological Medicine

Research Article

Relationship between psychiatric impairment and a natural disaster: the role of distress

A. C. McFarlanea1 c1

a1 Department of Psychiatry, The Flinders University of South Australia, Australia

Abstract

The relationship between adversity, distress and psychiatric impairment was examined in a group of 469 firefighters who had an intense exposure to an Australian bushfire disaster. The data suggested that psychiatric impairment measured by the General Health Questionnaire and distress measured by the Impact of Event Scale were relatively separate phenomena. Psychiatric impairment in these people appeared to be related more to their level of distress after the fires than to the severity of their exposure and losses.

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr A. C. McFarlane Department of Psychiatry, The Flinders University of South Australia, Bedford Park, South Australia 5042, Australia.

Metrics