Author(s): Kerim EDINSEL Özcan ELÇI
The effects of demographic factors, pre and post disaster factors and relocation on psychological distress were examined in a sample of the earthquake survivors after the August 17th earthquake in Turkey. 71 relocated survivors were compared with 78 survivors remained in the disaster area, in terms of symptom domains. All relocated survivors and nearly the half of those who stayed in the disaster area were interviewed and checked for the symptoms in December 1999 and the rest in April and May 2000. Multiple regression analyses showed that the external locus of control, age and gender predicted the three subscales of Symptom Check-list 90-R (SCL-90-R), namely depression, anxiety, and Global Severity Index (GSI); loss of life and satisfaction with the decisions, rescue and damage evaluation work of the government predicted anxiety and GSI, and relocation predicted anxiety. External locus of control was the most related factor to depression, anxiety and GSI scores, and the relocated group had significantly higher symptoms than the survivors remained in the disaster area. Our findings suggest that relocation after a disaster may be considered as an additional risk factor and the disruption of social network after the relocation may increase psychological distress. Therapeutic techniques that alter the external locus of control may be helpful in decreasing depression, anxiety, and GSI.