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

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 942
Abstract HTML Views: 556
PDF Downloads: 300
ePub Downloads: 172
Total Views/Downloads: 1970
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 572
Abstract HTML Views: 356
PDF Downloads: 229
ePub Downloads: 149
Total Views/Downloads: 1306

Creative Commons License
© 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: ( 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:,



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


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.


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).


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.


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.