Moderate Depression Promotes Posttraumatic Growth (Ptg): A Young Population Survey 2 Years after the 2009 L’Aquila Earthquake



V. Bianchini1, *, L. Giusti2, 3, A Salza 2, 3, V. Cofini2, M. G. Cifone2, M. Casacchia2, L. Fabiani2, R. Roncone2, 3
1 Department of Mental Health, Asl Roma 5, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
2 Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
3 University Rehabilitative Treatment, Early Intervention Unit, TRIP, San Salvatore Hospital, L’Aquila, Italy


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© 2017 Bianchini et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Mental Health, Asl Roma 5, Rome, Italy., Contrada Colle Cisterna, REMS “Castore” – Subiaco (RM), Italy; Tel: +39 0774.8115224; Mobile: +39 340.3097094; E-mails: valebianchini@hotmail.it, valeria.bianchini@aslromag.it


Abstract

Background:

Earthquakes can result in a range of psychopathology and in negative and positive consequences for survivors.

Objective:

To examine the association between clinical aftereffects (anxiety and depressive symptoms) and post-traumatic growth (PTG) among young survivors of the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake, Italy.

Method:

316 young earthquake survivors enrolled in the University of L’Aquila were evaluated two years after the natural disaster. Participants completed three main questionnaires, including Patient Health Questionnaire-9 items (PHQ-9), Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI).

Results:

59.6% of the student sample showed different levels of depression, whereas 13.3% reported anxiety symptoms. In both clinical dimensions (anxiety and depression), gender differences were found: female gender was confirmed risk factor for a clinical post-traumatic response. Personal PTG, demonstrated by 18% of the L’Aquila youths included in our sample, was predicted by moderate levels of depression (O.R. 2.7). In our model, gender, age, and anxiety did not show any predictive value.

Conclusion:

In a post-traumatic setting, the development of individual cognitive strategies is crucial, whereas after a natural disaster, paradoxically, a moderate depressive condition and the related distress could promote the drive to overcome the psychological consequences of the traumatic event.

Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, Disaster, Earthquake, PTSD, Post Traumatic Growth.