A cross-disasters comparison of psychological distress: Symptoms network analysis

Yafit Levin, Rahel Bachem, Menachem Ben-Ezra, Robin Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Large-scale traumatic events have the potential to trigger psychological distress, particularly among those in the affected areas. However, the manifestation of psychological distress may vary across different types of disasters. This study thus aimed to compare the symptoms network structure of psychological distress as assessed by the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale across three types of disasters: Terror (n = 5842), COVID-19 (n = 2428), and a nature-related disaster (n = 1001). Across disasters, two communities representing depression and anxiety symptoms were revealed. However, while after a nature-related disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic depression and anxiety items were interconnected via hopelessness, a terror attack resulted in more separated manifestations of anxiety and depression. Examination of symptom centrality showed that while in the Terror and the COVID-19 networks “depressed/no cheering up” was most connected to other symptoms, for the nature-related disaster network, two items were most central: “depressed/no cheering up” and “restless or fidgety”. The results may point to different mechanisms of psychological distress structures after different disasters. Depending on the type of disaster, trauma-focused interventions may require targeted support and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume340
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Disasters
  • Nature related disaster COVID-19
  • Network analysis
  • Psychological distress
  • Terror

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