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Can Demographic and Exposure Characteristics Predict Levels of Social Support in Survivors from a Natural Disaster?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinska och farmaceutiska vetenskapsområdet, centrumbildningar mm, National Center for Disaster Psychiatry. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Ulleråker, University Hospital.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2013 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 8, no 6, e65709- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective Lack of social support is a strong predictor for poor mental health after disasters. Psychosocial post-disaster interventions may benefit from targeting survivors at risk oflow support, yet it is unknown whether demographic and disaster exposure characteristics are associated with social support. This study assessed if age, gender, educational status, cohabitation, and disaster exposure severity predicted aspects of informal social support in a cohort of Swedish survivors from the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami.

Methods The participants were 3,536 disaster survivors who responded to a mail survey 14 months after the disaster (49% response rate). Their perceptions of present emotional support, contact with others, tangible support, negative support and overall satisfaction with informal support were assessed with the Crisis Support Scale and analysed in five separate ordinal regressions.

Results Demographic factors and exposure severity explained variation in social supports although the effect size and predictive efficiency were modest. Cohabitation and female gender were associated with both more positive and more negative support. Single-household men were especially at risk for low emotional support and younger women were more likely to perceive negative support. Higher education was associated with more positive support, whereas no clear pattern was found regarding age as a predictor. Disaster exposure severity was associated with more negative support and less overall support satisfaction.

Conclusions After a disaster that entailed little disruptions to the community the associations between demographic characteristics and social support concur with findings in the general population. The findings suggest that psychosocial disaster interventions may benefit from targeting specific groups of survivors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 8, no 6, e65709- p.
Keyword [en]
social support, natural disasters, traumatic events, crisis support, risk factors, socioeconomic factors
Keyword [sv]
socialt stöd, katastrofer, traumatiska händelser, krisstöd, riskfaktorer, socioekonomiska faktorer
National Category
Psychology Psychiatry
Research subject
Clinical Psychology; Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-198997DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065709ISI: 000320755400059OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-198997DiVA: diva2:619139
Available from: 2013-05-02 Created: 2013-05-02 Last updated: 2013-08-31Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttp://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0065709

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Arnberg, Filip KMelin, Lennart
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National Center for Disaster PsychiatryPsychiatry, Ulleråker, University HospitalDepartment of Psychology
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