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After the flood: Resilience among tsunami-afflicted adolescents
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
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2014 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, E-ISSN 1502-4725, Vol. 68, no 1, 38-43 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: About 7000 Swedish citizens were on Christmas holiday in the disaster area at the time of the South-east Asian tsunami in 2004, in many cases with children and adolescents in their families. Aims: To investigate how adolescents experience a traumatic exposure to a natural disaster. Method: Twenty adolescents aged 16-19 years, who had experienced the 2004 tsunami and participated in a follow-up study 19 months post-disaster, were randomly selected and interviewed about their reactions, their life afterwards and their families. The study combines the face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with questionnaire data on mental health for 4910 Swedish adolescents and adults. Results: The themes that emerged inductively during the analysis of the interviews were psychological reactions during the catastrophe, the coping after, changes in self-image, worldview, role in the family, risk interpretation and altruism. The disaster had profound impact on family relations, social networks and plans for the future. Many felt strengthened by the experience and by their ability to cope in comparison with other family members, but also perceived isolation and lack of understanding. The general mental health status among the adolescents did not differ significantly from those of older age at the 19-month follow-up. Conclusions: According to the adolescents', they experienced the tsunami-disaster differently than others around them. Their subjective interpretation of the event and its aftermath indicates resilience, especially among the young men. Future follow-up studies in larger samples of both symptoms and psychological functioning are warranted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 68, no 1, 38-43 p.
Keyword [en]
Adolescent resilience, Coping, Natural Disasters, Post-traumatic stress, Stressful life events
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-223587DOI: 10.3109/08039488.2013.767373ISI: 000333039100006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-223587DiVA: diva2:713358
Available from: 2014-04-22 Created: 2014-04-22 Last updated: 2014-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Ekerwald, HedvigLundin, Tom
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Department of SociologyNational Center for Disaster PsychiatryPsychiatry, University Hospital
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