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Comparison of post-disaster psychiatric disorders after terrorist bombings in Nairobi and Oklahoma City

  • Carol S. North (a1), Betty Pfefferbaum (a2), Pushpa Narayanan (a2), Samuel Thielman (a3), Gretchen McCoy (a4), Cedric Dumont (a4), Aya Kawasaki (a5), Natsuko Ryosho (a6) and Edward L. Spitznagel (a7)...

Abstract

Background

African disaster-affected populations are poorly represented in disaster mental health literature.

Aims

To compare systematically assessed mental health in populations directly exposed to terrorist bombing attacks on two continents, North America and Africa.

Method

Structured diagnostic interviews compared citizens exposed to bombings of the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya (n=227) and the Oklahoma City Federal Building (n=182).

Results

Prevalence rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression were similar after the bombings. No incident (new since the bombing) alcohol use disorders were observed in either site. Symptom group C was strongly associated with PTSD in both sites. The Nairobi group relied more on religious support and the Oklahoma City group used more medical treatment, drugs and alcohol.

Conclusions

Post-disaster psycho-pathology had many similarities in the two cultures; however, coping responses and treatment were quite different. The findings suggest potential for international generalisability of post-disaster psychopathology, but confirmatory studies are needed.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Carol S. North, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8134, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA. Tel: +1 314 747 2013; fax: +1 314 747 2140; e-mail: NorthC@psychiatry.wustl.edu

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Comparison of post-disaster psychiatric disorders after terrorist bombings in Nairobi and Oklahoma City

  • Carol S. North (a1), Betty Pfefferbaum (a2), Pushpa Narayanan (a2), Samuel Thielman (a3), Gretchen McCoy (a4), Cedric Dumont (a4), Aya Kawasaki (a5), Natsuko Ryosho (a6) and Edward L. Spitznagel (a7)...

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Comparison of post-disaster psychiatric disorders after terrorist bombings in Nairobi and Oklahoma City

  • Carol S. North (a1), Betty Pfefferbaum (a2), Pushpa Narayanan (a2), Samuel Thielman (a3), Gretchen McCoy (a4), Cedric Dumont (a4), Aya Kawasaki (a5), Natsuko Ryosho (a6) and Edward L. Spitznagel (a7)...
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